A wonderful alternative to traditional split-pea soup, this recipe adapted from Lorna J. Sass's Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure is a boon for those vegetarians who miss the smoky flavor of pea and bean soups flavored with ham or bacon. It's not that the spices add smokiness--they don't--but that the intense, deep flavor makes comparison not only impossible but irrelevant. And if you like Indian spices but can't find the traditional Indian dals at your supermarket, this will satisfy your cravings.
I haven't tried it, but I think some finely chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper would be great in this.
2 T. canola oil
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. black mustard seeds (if you can find them)
1 T. finely minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups green split peas, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons sweet (mild) curry powder
3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 quarts water
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Sizzle the seeds over medium-high heat just until they begin to pop, about 5 or 10 seconds. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and onions; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions are glazed and softened. Add the peas, carrots, curry powder, and water.
Bring to a boil (watch carefully--they foam a lot if allowed to boil much). Turn down the heat and simmer until the peas have fallen apart. Don't add salt until the soup is thick and the peas have broken down. This should take a couple of hours on low heat. If the soup gets too thick, add a little water or vegetable stock, but you don't want it too thin.
Enjoy incredible aroma while soup is cooking.
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mmmmmm.