Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Coconut Milk, Spinach and Shitakes

My husband was in Oklahoma City tonight for dinner at 105 degrees. He thoroughly enjoyed his dinner and was sending me photos and descriptions throughout dinner. I will blog about this tomorrow. He was quite pleased with his meal and picked up the raw entertaining book while he was there. Since I knew he was going to be having a nice meal tonight I wanted to make something nice for myself.

As I mentioned earlier I was reading this soup cookbook from Deborah Madison over the last few days. This soup stood out to me as something that was an unusual use of split peas with Thai flavors. I have changed the method and ingredients. I eliminated the added oil and added a few ingredients not in the original (lemon grass, kaffir lime, garlic, ginger and shitakes). If you like Thai food I think you will like this. Here is what I made myself tonight for dinner.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Coconut Milk, Spinach and Shitakes
Adapted from “Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
Makes 8 servings


1 pound yellow split peas, sorted through and rinsed
water to cover by a couple of inches, for soaking
8 cups water for cooking
3 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
1 stalk lemon grassed, bashed
14 ounce can light coconut milk
5 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly cut with scissors
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
20 stems of cilantro, stems and leaves separated
1 lime, zested and juiced
6 cups spinach, julienned
6 shitake caps, thinly sliced

1 cup millet
2 cups water

1 recipe tofu sour cream (oil eliminated)


Soak the yellow split peas for one hour. Drain and rinse the peas until the water runs clear. Add the 8 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Make a sachet of the bay leaves, cloves and lemon grass so they can easily removed when the beans are cooked. When the beans are tender (after about 60 minutes of cooking) remove them to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the bean puree to the pan.

When the beans are almost tender start the millet cooking. Combine the millet and water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 20 minutes. Hold the millet covered until needed.

Add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, salt, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and finely diced cilantro stems to the pureed beans and simmer until the flavors have married. This should happen in about 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve add the lime juice to the soup. Place the millet, julienned spinach, and minced cilantro leaves into the individual bowls top with soup, sliced shitakes and tofu sour cream and a cilantro and lime zest garnish.

Nutritional Information (doesn’t included the tofu sour cream):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 325.12
Calories From Fat (18%) - 57.58

Total Fat - 6.14g
Saturated Fat - 3.68g
Cholesterol- 0mg
Sodium - 441.73mg
Potassium - 771.74mg
Total Carbohydrates - 53.98g
Fiber - 15.24g
Sugar - 3.47g
Protein - 14.77g


I enjoyed the texture of this soup. It is thick without being fatty. I also like that the spinach is heated only the warmth of the soup retaining as much nutrition as possible. The original soup used white rice, but I used millet since it is healthier. The flavor of this soup is definitely Thai inspired. I would not have thought of using pureed peas with these flavors but I am very glad Deborah Madison did. This is destined to become one of my favorite winter soups.

Each serving of this soup contains approximately 3.850IU of vitamin A, 27mg of vitamin C, 100mg of calcium, 4.5mg of iron, 210mcg of folate, 150mcg of vitamin K, 270mg of phosphorus, and 120mg of magnesium.

Unrelated note:

I am off to try to get some sleep, assuming little Nicco (aka. Binky) allows his mommy to sleep. When Dan is out of town Binky doesn’t sleep, and doesn’t think I should either. Wish me luck that he has outgrown this phase, since he is 8 years old.

I will be back in the morning with the 105 degrees update. From what the hubby tells me it was quite good and he definitely had a favorite or two.


  1. This looks great...thanks for posting the recipe...I hope Nicco doesn't fret tonight.

  2. Oh, Alicia! Your split pea soup looks and sounds so wonderful! I love that you added ingredients that I love like lemon grass, ginger and shitakes. I know for sure that this is my kind of food, can't wait to give it a try!

    Hope Nicco let you go to sleep, good night!

  3. Jtee,

    You are very welcome, and thanks for commenting.

    Sadly, not much sleep at my house. Nicco missed his daddy and walked around crying all night. I will probably write a quick post about it, assuming I stay awake long enough.


    Thanks! I can't leave a recipe alone, which seems to be in my DNA. I never would have thought of Thai flavors with split pea but it works.

    Not much sleep at my house. Nicco was very upset that Daddy wasn't home. He wanted me to be upset too. I hope he goes to sleep soon so I can go back to bed, and sleep this time.


  4. Hi Alicia,

    I was just wondering-- is your husband strickly vegan, like you?

    This looks so good (like ALL your recipes!). Thanks for sharing!

  5. Anna,

    Thank you for the compliment. What a nice thing to read first thing in the morning.

    Yes, my hubby and I eat the same way. He does need to travel for work, so he has trouble staying vegan sometimes, but he does his best and is usually successful.

    We eat this way for health, so it was easy to get my husband to go along with the concept. I do need to give him quite a bit more food to keep his weight up.


  6. This could definitely make a whole meal for me, and just the kind of soup I love! (I'll have to omit the mushrooms, though. Sniff!)

  7. Ricki,

    You read my mind. This was my dinner last night. Probably should have added a salad, but I didn't feel like going to the trouble since it was just me.


  8. Oh yummy. That looks so good right now as it's cold out! I checked out 105 degrees' menu. Need to make a trip to OKC soon.

  9. Heather,

    This soup turned out really well. Can't wait to hear what Dan thinks tonight we he gets home. I think it is a winner. One of my best soups this winter.

    Glad you checked out 105 degrees. Dan said it was better than he expected. He would definitely go back the next time he is in OKC.

    talk to you later,

  10. That's way too cute that your hubby kept you updated on his meal and with pictures!

    I see Nicco was restless like you predicted, good thing he is such a cutie, right? ;) Hope you can get some rest today.

    As for this soup, it is very exciting! I am sick of yellow split pea curry dishes right now, and don't have nearly enough Thai food in my life these days. Perfection!

  11. Sarah,

    I loved getting dinner updates with pictures. I could send him questions via text and he could ask the waiter. We got to "eat" dinner together, but I didn't get the calories (perfection)!

    Nicco is adorable but not well behaved. He is very loved, we just wish he would grow up and act like a big cat.

    The soup was shockingly good. I would not have added Thai flavors to yellow split pea but it worked. This soup will probably go into my normal rotation.


    Thanks. It was an easy soup to make. I think it will be even better today (since most soups are), which is hard to imagine since it rocked last night.


  12. I love your blog and have been reading for quite a while now. I have noticed quite a few canned goods used in your cooking. Are you concerned about BPA from the lining of the cans?

  13. Cranky,

    Love your name. It gave me a giggle.

    Regarding canned goods I assume you are referring to the tomato products. Being part Italian canned tomatoes are almost a requirement of my DNA. I tried canning them last year but that is much more labor intensive than I expected so the ones I canned are long gone now. I do plan to can more this year if I can work it in.

    I am a little concerned about BPA, but I tend to worry about everything when it comes to health. I decided earlier this year to try to lighten up a little when it comes to health. Knowing that most of what we eat comes from the produce section is good enough, for now. At the moment we are drinking at lot of smoothies and eating a lot of salads. I plan to get more into raw food next.

    I think I was rambling a little in my answer I hope I covered your question.


  14. Hey Alicia...

    JTee was me...I was using John's computer and didn't realize that he was logged into to his google account.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  15. Rose,

    Thanks for letting me know you were JTee. I was wondering who that was.

    talk to you later,


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