On the menu

Recipe of the week: Trini split pea dhal with spinach and okra

Craig and Shaun McAnuff add mango chutney, spinach and okra to this special dish

Owing to the massive influence India has had on the island, Trinidad is home to some of the best veggie curries, say Craig and Shaun McAnuff – and you’re getting just that with this special dhal.

We’ve added mango chutney, spinach and okra to give that EXTRA FLAVA! It’s best to soak the peas for a few hours (or overnight) to plump them up a bit, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have time.

Serves four people

Ingredients 
  • 350g dried split peas
  • 1.7 litres water
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground pimento (allspice)
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney, plus extra to serve
  • handful of spinach
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 okra, sliced lengthways
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method
  • Firstly, wash and drain the split peas two or three times, until the water runs clear. Add them to a large pot with the water and bring to the boil.
  • Now season di ting with the onion, scotch bonnet, turmeric, ground cumin, pimento, mango chutney, and salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for 40 minutes until the peas are tender.
  • Use a stick blender to blend until mushy but not completely smooth. Add a likkle more salt and black pepper to taste, stir in the spinach to wilt, take off the heat and allow to rest – the liquid will soak into the peas, thickening it. Add a little more hot water if it needs loosening.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, cumin seeds and bay leaves. Fry for 3-4 minutes until sizzling and fragrant, being careful not to burn them, then dash them into the curry.
  • In the same frying pan, pan-fry the sliced okra and serve alongside the curry, with rice and flatbreads.
  • Serve extra mango chutney and hot pepper sauce on the side.
Natural Flava book cover

Taken from Natural Flava by Craig and Shaun McAnuff, published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) at £22. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £17.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit theweekbookshop.co.uk.

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