Indian Split Pea Soup with Tofu and Cilantro
What we call split pea soup the East Indians would call a dal and, when spooned over rice the way the East Indians do, it makes a very satisfying meal. Here frozen peas add welcome color and cubes of tofu stand in for paneer, a firm fresh cheese often added to dal. What really gives this soup some zing is the spiced oil that gets stirred in at the last minute for a giant burst of flavor.
Combine rice, water, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil, covered, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Quickly fluff with a fork, then remove from heat and keep covered.
While rice cooks, Combine soup, water, and peas and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tofu and simmer 1 minute.
Combine oil, mustard and cumin seeds, and pepper flakes in a small skillet and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until mustard seeds begin to pop. Cover skillet with a lid and cook until popping subsides. Pour oil and spices into soup, then stir in cilantro.
Serve soup spooned over rice in bowls.
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