Split Pea and Red Pepper Soup with Sizzled Spices

Preparation info

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This is a colourful mix of soupy yellow split peas and roasted sweet red pepper spiked with green chillies, lemon juice and fresh coriander. A tempering of sizzled cracked black peppercorns, cloves and green cardamom adds the finishing touch.


  • vegetable oil 4 tbsp
  • mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • onion 1 small, finely chopped
  • tomato 1 medium, peeled and chopped
  • green or red chillies 1–2, deseeded and finely chopped
  • garlic cloves 2, finely chopped
  • turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • paprika ½ tsp
  • yellow split peas 200 g/7 oz, soaked for several hours
  • vegetable or chicken stock 1 litre/ pints, preferably home-made
  • red peppers 2 small, halved and deseeded
  • salt 1 tsp
  • lemon juice 2 tbsp
  • coriander stems discarded, leaves sliced to make 4 tbsp
  • black peppercorns ½ tsp, crushed
  • cloves 4, crushed
  • green cardamom seeds from 6 pods, crushed


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds then, once they begin to pop, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the onion, tomato and chillies. Cook, stirring, for another minute, then add the garlic, turmeric and paprika.

Drain the split peas and add to the pan. Pour in the stock, cover and bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat for about 50 minutes or until the peas are mushy.

While the peas are cooking, put the red peppers, cut-side down, in a pan under a very hot grill. Grill for 10–15 minutes or until the skin blisters and blackens. Leave to cool, then peel off the skin and chop the flesh into neat 1cm/½in squares.

Once the peas are soft, break them up a bit with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the red peppers, salt, lemon juice and coriander. Simmer for a few more minutes to warm through.

Heat the remaining oil in a small, heavy-based frying pan. When almost smoking, add the peppercorns, cloves and cardamom seeds. Sizzle for a few seconds until fragrant, then pour into the soup. Cover and leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.