Make Ahead

Lime Curry

October  1, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Spring, summer, fall, or winter, I cannot get enough of this dish. It requires no work, and it awards you with a load of fragrant wholesomeness. It is rewarding: It can act as a soup, a curry, even a spread. It is forgiving: You can change the quantities and the cooking time and it's still going to love you back. It is friendly: It likes rice and it likes pita bread. Plus, it costs a couple of bucks to make and sometimes I feel like it's the couple of bucks best spent. —QueenSashy

Test Kitchen Notes

An aromatic golden hued curry that blends Indian-ish yellow spilt peas with fragrant Thai flavors in delicious harmony. The earthiness of the peas, subtle heat of the curry paste, creamy lusciousness of the coconut milk -- all splashed with a hint of tart lime juice and citrusy lemongrass -- come together just beautifully for a warm, comforting meal. It's even more delightful when spooned over nutty Basmati rice! —shailini sisodia

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound yellow split peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
  • one 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/2 stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped
  • Juice and finely grated zest of one lime, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt
  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the peas with hot water. Rinse several times, until the water is very clear.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and simmer for about two minutes. Add the split peas, curry paste, coconut milk, and two cups of water, and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add lemongrass, lime zest and garlic, and season with salt. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Simmer for about 75 minutes, until the peas begin to fall apart. (Note that after about 40 minutes, the peas will be barely tender -- continue to simmer way past that point, until the peas begin to fall apart and turn into a chunky purée.)
  3. Remove the curry from the stove and add the lime juice.
  4. Let the curry rest for about an hour. You may be tempted to serve it immediately, but the peas will continue to absorb the flavors, and your patience will be rewarded. As it cools, the curry will continue to thicken, and you might have to thin it with water. Reheat gently before serving. Serve the curry either as chunky purée with warm pita or naan, or “soupier,” with steamed basmati rice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Negar Siadatnejad
    Negar Siadatnejad
  • healthierkitchen
  • AntoniaJames
  • susan g
    susan g
  • QueenSashy
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.

20 Reviews

beejay45 December 24, 2017
Love this, although I had a hard time finding the yellow split peas. Not sure why...I see them everywhere when I'm not looking for them. ;)

I'm always looking for things to make into patties -- small as nibbles, larger in a wrap or pita a la falafel, larger still as a veggie burger kind of thing. Anyway, I've got a little of this leftover still and it's gotten very thick. Think I'm going to throw all my little packets of grains and veggies into it and turn it into patties. I love it when I can use up a bunch of little bits of this and that to make one bigger something that's delicious, and the flavor of this dish will be amazing this way. Served with some raita and chutney...I'm drooling!
judy December 10, 2014
Well, for me this worked out very well. I did use coconut oil as my oil and sautéed some bone-in chicken thighs. Used vegetable stock instead of water. Also had a couple of carrots and celery stalks that I threw in. Very nice. But probably the chicken boosted the flavor. Then threw everything onto my crock pot for 5 hours. Served with cilantro, lime, coconut and my homemade tamarind sauce for garnishes. Very née for dinner then next night. The flavor improves over a day or so. Will make again some time using lentils. I always am looking for things to do with lentils, but I did need to use up these yellow peas that my son bought about a year ago. I was worried that they would be over-dried, but they are delicious. What a nice take on pea soup. And the chicken bones? They go into the freezer and when I have about 4 pounds they will be used for bone broth. So good.
Ellen F. November 17, 2014
Based on the comments I had high hopes for this, but it really didn't live up to my expectations. I don't think the lime flavor works with the split peas, but mostly the color and texture are unappetizing.
emcsull November 14, 2014
this recipe is stupendous. Made it twice already. Hesitated to make the whole amount (a pound !) for my husband and me, but we happily sucked it all up in two days. Can't stop eating it. Unfortunately does not appeal to my son's thirteen year old palate, never mind. All the more for us.
Negar S. November 4, 2014
Wow, this dish was absolutely fantastic! I followed the recipe to a tee and it came out perfect. I cut up one thinly sliced red bell pepper and mixed in the curry after it finished cooking, and it created a nice touch. Thanks for posting this recipe!
QueenSashy November 5, 2014
Thank you for leaving the comment. I never tried adding fresh peppers and will definitely try it next time.
Chloroph September 17, 2014
These cooked for approx 2 hours. I'm wondering if soaking them first would have helped. Or maybe the peas were stale...
Chloroph September 17, 2014
The flavor of this curry is outstanding. Adding a few shakes of cayenne powder at the end made it pop even more! This would go on my regular, make again list except for one problem. The yellow peas never became really became soft. In fact, they remain a little crunchy even after being cooked over low flame for almost double the recommended time. Could this be because I started out with dried peas? I didn't see any other kind available at my local market. Any recommendations for how to soften them to achieve the creamy effect QueenSashy mentioned?
QueenSashy September 17, 2014
It could be that it is the peas. I also start with dry peas, no soaking. I make this dish very often and the cooking time will vary depending on the peas I am using, but in general 75 min should be enough to get them very soft. I would say 90 min max...
emcsull September 14, 2014
now, are yellow split peas the same as chana dal ?
QueenSashy September 14, 2014
they are not... here is a link to discussion thread here on food52 ( ) Yellow split peas bring particular kind of creaminess, which I really like, especially in this dish.
emcsull September 15, 2014
that's what I thought, peas are peas (or should be) and I believe chana dal are split chick-peas.
Thanks !
healthierkitchen January 13, 2014
Love this! Saved!
AntoniaJames June 14, 2013
Made this last night. Outstanding! I only had 3/4 pound of red lentils (no yellow split peas), and was a bit afraid of the coconut milk overwhelming this, as I did not use red curry paste (chilies and I just don't get along too well . . . . I used a couple of healthy pinches of paanch phoron at the end, instead), so I used a little less than a cup of good Thai coconut milk. The resulting dal was sublime! I had a small cup with my lunch, today, too. Definitely a keeper -- and something I'll be eating all summer. (The bright lime flavor is marvelous, making it well suited for the warm weather.) Also, I can easily see making this very thick and using it for dipping pita chips and crudites for a party. Excellent recipe. ;o)
QueenSashy June 14, 2013
AJ thanks for letting me know!!! This is not a flashy or noticeable dish, but it is one of my all time favorites. And you are right - it makes a great chunky spread for a party...
AntoniaJames June 13, 2013
On my must-make-soon list. Wonderful recipe! ;o)
QueenSashy June 13, 2013
Thanks :)
AntoniaJames June 13, 2013
Wish there were some way I could be notified every time susan g comments on a recipe! She's largely responsible for finding the hidden treasures here that I make over and over. Thanks, susan g!! ;o) (And thanks, QueenSashy, for posting this and all of your other recipes.)
susan G. June 10, 2013
I couldn't get the name of this recipe out of my mind! We had it tonight, and loved it. I'll try the little bit left over in a wrap, and make it again with more of the curry paste (trying it after a day may change my mind on that one). Have you ever tried making it with dal, to shorten the cooking time?
QueenSashy June 13, 2013
Yes, you can definitely do it with red dal, the cook time will be much shorter. The flavor will change somewhat. I like the sweetness of yellow split peas and do not mind the long simmer...