Recipe for spicy whole yellow pea soup with lamb – The Boston Globe

Spicy whole yellow pea soup with lamb

Dolphia Nandi

Spicy whole yellow pea soup with lamb

Serves 4

Whole yellow pea soup with lamb and spices, a traditional Bengali street food, used to cost 12 cents when my mother bought it from her college cafe every day for lunch. Now Indian vendors sell it for about 16 cents. My mother used to make this at least once a week in a pressure cooker; the recipe here has been adapted to use a regular pot. Whole yellow peas are a little smaller than chickpeas (and you can substitute chickpeas, if you like). Baking soda tenderizes them during cooking. If the liquid froths while boiling the peas, add a few drops of canola oil. Allow enough time for the peas to soak overnight.


1 cup dried whole yellow peas
3 cups water, or more if needed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Salt, to taste

Continue reading below

1. In a large bowl, combine the peas with enough water to cover by several inches. Set aside to soak overnight.

2. Drain the peas and transfer to a soup pot. Add the 3 cups water,
turmeric, bay leaf, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 45 to 50 minutes or until the peas are tender. Add more water during cooking, if necessary. When the peas are cooked, add a generous pinch of salt.


½ cup water
½ tablespoon distilled white vinegar
½ pound boneless lamb leg, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 red onion ( coarsely chopped, thinly sliced, finely chopped)
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 whole red chile pepper
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chile powder
¼ green chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (for serving)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the water and vinegar. Add the lamb and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until all water evaporates. Transfer to a bowl.

2. In a food processor, combine the coarsely chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt. Work the mixture until it forms a paste. Transfer to the bowl of meat. Add yogurt and mix well.

3. Rinse and dry the skillet. Set it over medium heat and heat the oil. Add the red chile, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and cloves. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until they splutter. Add the sliced onion, and cook for 5 minutes, or until it starts to soften. Add the lamb, turmeric, and chile powder. Cook, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes.

4. Tip the lamb mixture into the peas and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or chile powder, if you like.

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with finely chopped onion, green chiles, and lemon.

Dolphia Nandi