Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Afghan Inspired Okra and Split Pea Stew

I rarely watch Telugu and Hindi movies these days. Back in my teens and twenties, I was quite a moviegoer. Minimum 4 to 6 movies per month, yes that big of a fan. Not anymore. Once enjoyable dramas have now became too much to bear and boring. I get my dramas from current events these days. But I do remember few movies from yesteryears. One such film is Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi‘s “Khuda Gawa” (God is My Witness) (1992). The movie was shot in then somewhat peaceful Afghanistan. The mountains, the pass – the landscape was breathtakingly captured in that movie and made a memorable impression on my mind.

Recently when I was asked to try out a meatless Afghan recipe from an Afghanistan cookbook by a friend, I immediately replied ‘yes’. Split peas and whole baby okras (leta bendakayalu) cooked to tender in tomato – dill sauce. I tried this recipe two months ago for the photo shoot for NPR. Few additions to taste; now, it’s a regular preparation at my kitchen. Like our sambhar and moong dal aamti, this tasty stew can make a decent meal by itself. This also can be eaten with rice or naan.


3 cups of split peas soaked in hot water for about one hour
12 to 15 tender baby okra of small finger length – ends removed
6 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 red onion or 2 shallots, finely sliced
¼ cup of fresh dill (acquired taste, optional and avoid if you don’t like dill)
1 tsp each -salt, chilli powder, turmeric and dhania (coriander) powder
1 tsp of oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add and cook onions and tomatoes until they soften. Mush them by pressing with a back of big spoon. To this sauce, add okra, dill, split peas, all the seasoning and two cups of water. Cover and simmer the whole thing for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Until okra and split peas become tender and the stew reaches the thickness you desire. Serve warm.

Pot of Okra and Split Pea Stew
Warming up Winter Days ~ for Rosie’s “Spice is Right” Event

Recipe source and adapted from –
“Afghan Food & Cookery: Noshe Djan” by Helen Saberi and from NPR’s Kitchen Window – “Discovering Afghan Cuisine, a World Away” by Vijaysree Venkatraman

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Benda Kaaya(Okra),Peas (Split) (Thursday December 7, 2006 at 9:32 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

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15 comments for Afghan Inspired Okra and Split Pea Stew »

  1. yay, i get to comment first!

    Nice pic. New to this blog and love it.

    Comment by Raaji — December 7, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

  2. Oh it looks lovely Indira!

    Comment by Sumitha — December 8, 2006 @ 12:45 am

  3. woh!! looks delicious!i can imagine how it must have tasted!!!

    Comment by Padmaja — December 8, 2006 @ 2:35 am

  4. Dear Indira,
    I am from India. I shifted to Netherlands with my dutch partner in May ’06. I am a foody but recently have started cooking good and healthy food. And instead of calling up my mother and sister in India for any guidance…I used your great food blog. And I love south indian dishes – so have tried all the chutneys etc from your site.
    And I thought it is hightime that I change the mode from ‘read only’ to ‘writing’…So thanks a lot and I just love the design of this site and the way you write and some of the issues you write about.
    Thanks once again,
    May be I should share some of the Gujarati food recipe….when someday I will start my food blog.

    Comment by Rupal — December 8, 2006 @ 3:16 am

  5. Stew looks so nourishing!nice to have some warm on a cold winter morning.somewhat like our Pulusu..Will try this one.Can I use normal yellow tuvar dal(kandi pappu)for this one?That is all I have on hand now..:)

    Comment by Vini K — December 8, 2006 @ 3:17 am

  6. Love the stew … love the copper dish.

    Comment by Krithika — December 8, 2006 @ 6:16 am

  7. This looks good…! I checked out the NPR website, and congratulations for being featured on it! I saw this picture there too, and I just knew that it had to be your creation.


    Comment by Trupti — December 8, 2006 @ 7:07 am

  8. Nice combination okra and split pea, it looks delicious.

    Comment by krista — December 8, 2006 @ 7:27 am

  9. The recipe looks delicious and you substitute fresh tomatoes with canned or paste- should you not have fresh tomatoes with you?

    Comment by Amy Thomas — December 8, 2006 @ 8:08 am

  10. The stew looks very delicious and nourishing. It has all the ingredients that one can ask for a healthy diet. This is a unique combination-Okra,tomato and spilt-peas.
    Never tried something like this before, Indira! I like this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Deepu — December 8, 2006 @ 8:16 am

  11. Can I use yellow split peas instead of green ones? Whats the difference between green and yellow split peas?

    Hi Manjula,
    Like green and white vatana, there is a subtle difference between yellow and green split peas tastewise, but not that significant. You could easily prepare this recipe with yellow split peas. Hope this helps.

    Comment by Manjula — December 8, 2006 @ 1:09 pm

  12. Great recipe! Congrats on being featured on NPR! Great job! I once sent an email to Diane Rehm, which she read on her talk show – the debate was about school choice – I was jumping with joy the whole day, and felt so delighted to have my opinion heard live on air! But that was the last time I sent in my opinion on NPR – I guess I need to start writing again. Wouldn’t have the guts to call thoug…

    I can only imagine how excited you must be feeling to have your blog and recipe featured! Way to go, Indira!!

    I enjoyed the other article about “Live and Let Live” philosophy, and the comments/debate the article evoked..It was a steamy one and spicy too – lots of interesting flavors! I couldn’t help laughing at the controversial ones – sorry to make it sound less serious – really – Frasier(from the seattle show!) would have had a good laugh reading one of the posts – if you know what I mean – solve the riddle! 🙂


    Comment by Desimom — December 8, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

  13. Hi Raaji and Sumitha: Thanks.

    Hi Padmaja: It really taste great, give it a try.

    Hi Rupal: Many thanks for your nice words about Mahanandi. I really appreciate you for taking time to leave this comment.
    I have visited your site. Great work!
    Please do let me know when you start a food blog. I am sure, it’s going to be a fabulous addition to the community and I’ll learn lot of new things from you.

    Hi Vini: kandi pappu to cheste achhu mana sambhar leda rasam laaga vastundi. Do try it with split peas, it’s common ingredient in western cooking, and you can get it at regular grocery shops.

    Krithika: Thanks.

    Hi Trupti: Thanks! It feels good to hear nice words about the photo. I had a pleasant experience working for this piece.:)

    Thanks Krista. Your Greek Tiropita recipe looks delicious and I’ve bookmarked it to try.:)

    Hi Amy: yes, canned stuff works for this recipe.

    Deepu, you have to try this recipe. Really good and easy to prepare.

    Hi Manjula: Yes, you can. There is not that much of a difference between two varieties, and Google search offers lot of information if you are interested.

    Hi Praba: To get published in a newspaper and to be heard on radio – it’s a great thrill, isn’t it? 🙂 I don’t know why? I regularly publish photos on this site, still it felt great to see my photos on NPR’ page. Something with the name, I guess.:) All thanks to Vijaysree, she is a go-getter and kind person.
    It was a good discussion, wasn’t it? We are a perfect family, lovey-dovey when in need, all knifes when it matters. I’ve missed your opinion on that piece.:)
    Thanks Praba!

    Comment by Indira — December 8, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  14. This looks so delicious–two of my favorite things are split peas and okra. Unfortunately, I’m married to an okra-phobe. I think that’s just because his mother made it badly, though, so maybe I’ll give this a try and change his mind . . .

    Comment by Sarah — December 19, 2006 @ 10:49 am

  15. Hi Indira, you got 3 of my fav. ingredients there, what else besides tears of joy to kill my cold weather blues. Thx for sharing 🙂

    Comment by MeltingWok — January 6, 2007 @ 6:25 am

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