Indian Split Pea and Butternut Squash Soup

November 30, 2006 at 6:32 am (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Indian, Quick weeknight recipe, soup)

The turmeric, split peas, and butternut squash make this soup a beautiful bright yellow color, and it’s quite nutritions as well.  The Indian flavoring goes really well with the squash and split peas.  I used to make this soup in college when I lived in the co-op, but I no longer remember where I got this recipe from. If anyone knows the source please let me know.


  • 2 1/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed (6 cups cut into 3/4” cubes)
  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut, shredded, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • water

Cook the squash. yellow split peas, and salt in a pot with 2 cups of water for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile soak the coconut in boiling water, then puree in blender for 3 minutes. Add the coconut, cumin, turmeric, and more water to the squash. Cook for another 30 minutes. Toast the black mustard seeds in the oil. Mix into the soup and serve.

My Notes

I made this in my crockpot last night. My squash only weighed about 1.5 pounds, and I wanted to use up all my split peas (about a cup). I also cut the coconut to 1/4 cup, increased the salt to 1 tsp., and doubled the mustard seeds to 2 tsp. I used 4 cups of water, and I made 7 cups of soup. I put all the ingredients in the crockpot except the mustard seeds and oil, and cooked it on low overnight. In the morning I used my stick blender to puree it, and added the toasted mustard seeds. This soup tastes like a split pea soup with Indian spices. I can’t quite taste the squash, which is not surprising since I halved the squash and doubled the peas. The coconut didn’t get blended very well, so it definitely adds its own texture to the soup. I think if I make this again I will try to stay closer to the original ratio of squash and peas, and use 1 Tbs. each of oil and mustard seeds. I’d also throw some hot chilis in with the black mustard seeds, and some curry leaves. It needed more spice I think. I might also increase the cumin a bit. The salt level, however, was perfect I thought.

Rating: B

Update Jan 2017

I made this recipe last night but I couldn’t find yellow split peas and ended up using yellow lentils. They cooked much faster than the split peas, and the soup tasted quite different, but both Derek and I liked it.  Alma wouldn’t touch it, presumably because of the butternut squash.

Update Feb 2012

I made a soup today that was inspired by this recipe.  Here’s my best guess of what I did:

  • 1/2 onion (sweated til brown in 1/2 tsp. olive oil over low heat, in a covered pot)
  • 1 1/8 pounds red kuri squash (weighed after roughly peeling and removing seeds), roughly chopped (maybe 4 cups of cubes?)
  • 3/8 cup yellow split peas
  • 6? cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut, shredded, unsweetened, and soaked in about 1/2? cup of boiling water
  • 2 tsp. olive oil + 1? tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • about 10-20 curry leaves
  • a large pinch of cinnamon
  • quite a bit of cayenne
  • two pinches of cloves
  • a shake of garlic powder

This time the soup tasted like pumpkin soup.  I couldn’t taste the split peas at all, although it’s possible that (along with the coconut) they made the texture a bit grittier.  I liked the soup a lot.  It tasted like an Indian-flavored pumpkin soup.  It made a very satisfying and creamy lunch on a cold winter day.  Next time I think I’ll double this recipe, except I’ll increase the split peas from 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup.

I’m not sure why the recipe says to soak the coconut instead of just adding it to the pot with the split peas.  Maybe because you’d have to puree the coconut along with the squash and peas?  I’d like to try skipping the soaking step next time, and see if it makes a difference to the texture.

Rating: B/B+
Derek: B/B+


  1. lisa said,

    Looks to me like the “Squash Malagushim” recipe from p 220 of Laurel’s Kitchen. I came here looking for a variation on it, googling some of the ingredients.

  2. captious said,

    Hi Lisa, I just looked at my copy of Laurel’s Kitchen and I don’t see this recipe in my copy. Maybe it’s only in the new Laurel’s cookbooks?

  3. Jennifer said,

    This looks healthy and yummy! However, I don’t see the quantity of split peas listed…what ‘s recommended?

  4. captious said,

    You’re right, thanks for the note. I fixed the recipe.

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