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Recipe: Split pea dhal with spinach and okra

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This hearty, spicy dish makes for a perfect mid-week meal.

"Trinidad is known for its special dhal dishes. With a massive Indian influence on the island, they have created some of the best veggie curries, and you're getting just that here. We've added mango chutney, spinach and okra to give that extra flava!" say Craig and Shaun McAnuff from Original 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."

Trini split pea dhal with spinach and okra


(Serves 4)

  • 350g dried split peas
  • 1.7L water
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 2tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground pimento (allspice)
  • 1tbsp mango chutney, plus extra to serve
  • Handful of spinach
  • 3tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 okra, sliced lengthways
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. 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 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.
  2. Use a stick blender to blend until mushy but not completely smooth. Add a little 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.
  3. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, cumin seeds and bay leaves. Fry for three to four minutes until sizzling and fragrant, being careful not to burn them, then dash them into the curry.
  4. 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: Quick And Easy Plant-Based Caribbean Recipes by Craig and Shaun McAnuff is published by Bloomsbury, priced £22. Photography by Matt Russell. Available now.

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