It was the best of peas, it was the worst of peas – the split pea is so revered in certain cultures that they even have a National Split Pea Soup Week (no joke – 12-18 Nov – missed it, darn!) But is not to be confused with the pigeon pea, often used to make dal.
You’ll need to start by soaking the peas for about 12 hours or so – try leaving them in a bowl of water before you leave for work in the morning – this’ll cut down their cooking time considerably. Just multiply the measures of pea/water if you want to make masses of soup.
1 cup of yellow split peas, soaked
3 cups of water
1 stamp-size piece of kombu (seaweed) soaked for 15 min – this is a definite optional – if you can find/afford kombu or another type of seaweed available in health food shops, it’s said to make them ‘easier to digest’ – alternatively, just go ‘commando’, seaweed-less!
1 Sliced onion
1 cup of pumpkin (another optional – you could replace with mushroom, or a green vegetable like pointed cabbage – in season at the moment, if it’s easier)
Pinch of salt
Barley miso (paste) to taste OR marigold/any other type of soup stock
1. Place the peas (and seaweed, if you’re using it) in a pot with water. Simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add chopped onion, carrots,pumpkin and salt and cook until tender.
3. Add the stock powder, or miso.
4. cook for 5 more minutes (but don’t boil – this can denature the miso.)
And that’s that. I’ve also just discovered there’s also an interesting traditional Geordie/NW English pea recipe (no, not Cheezy Peaz) called pease pudding using split peas… will have to check this out in a future London Cooking recipe!