the taste space

Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango (Mango Curry with Toor Dal)

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on April 21, 2012

Have you heard?

They’re here!!!

Rob stalks grocery stores once a year for it. Now they’ve arrived.

It is mango season. Not just any mango, though.

Alphonso mangoes have touched down from India. Thankfully, before our move away from Little India.

We picked up a case of nice Ataulfo mangoes last week because we weren’t sure when the Alphonsos would arrive. Lucky for us, it wasn’t long before they began popping up in Little India. On Thursday, they had a new shipment. By the end of the day, there were only 2 cases left. They are flying like hotcakes!

For the last two years, Rob and I have trekked out to buy these sweet and creamy mangoes. This is the first year it isn’t such a trek to locate them. We’ve made many mango dishes, both sweet and savoury, and now we’ve added another favourite to the list: this fabulous mango curry from 660 Curries which Iyer titled Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango.

This curry follows the key steps of toasting and grinding spices, simmering the dal with different flavours and tempering another set of spices in oil that are added in at the end. But first, you need to make your own garam masala. Trust me on this. I know you have garam masala already lurking in your spice rack. This garam masala is different: it has sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut. We decreased the chilis and it was fragrant and savoury without unnecessary heat. For those who don’t want more spice blends, the recipe below is exactly for one recipe, but you will want to make more once you get a whiff of the final blend. We wished we had made more, so don’t follow in our footsteps. ;)

While I just harped on this being Alphonso mango season, this mango curry does not need to be made with fancy mangoes. We used Ataulfos because we picked them up for cheap, but Tommy Atkins will work just fine, and frozen chunks, too. If Alphonso mangoes weren’t $2 each we’d gladly use them, though. Like the Mango BBQ Beans, the mango in this curry melts into oblivion leaving its sweet remains behind. Distinct mango flavour is camouflaged among the curry leaves, coconut and peanut. Everything works so well together. Sweet, spicy, savoury…

This is a delicious curry that you won’t be disappointed it. We’ve been eating at a few Indian restos recently and I still think the best Indian cooking happens in our kitchen. With this dish, there is no contest.

This is my submission to this month‘s Simple and in Season, to this week’s Sunday Night Soup Night, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to Cookbooks Sundays.

Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango (Ambyachi Dal)
Adapted from 660 Curries

2 cups split pigeon peas (toor dal) – or try split yellow peas
2 medium-sized firm, ripe mangoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (around 1.5 cups)
1 recipe or 4 tbsp Sesame-Flavoured Blend with Peanuts and Coconut (see below)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
20-24 fresh curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Begin by making your spice blend (see below).

2. Wash toor dal well. Place in a large pot along with 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered. Remove and discard any scum that forms. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the peas and partially tender.

3. Add the mango, garam masala, salt, turmeric, curry leaves and an additional 2 cups of water to the dal. Cover pot and simmer for an additional 30-40 minutes, until the peas and meltingly tender and falling apart.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle, turn brown and are fragrant, around 5-10n seconds. Remove the skillet immediately from heat and add cilantro. It will crackle as it contacts the hot oil, so watch out.

5. Once the dal is tender, partially mash the peas if desired. Add the seasoned oil mixture to the dal and stir to mix well. Continue to allow the curry to simmer, uncovered, an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to harmonize.

Serves 6.

Sesame-Flavoured Blend with Peanuts and Coconut (Maharashtrian Garam Masala)
Adapted from 660 Curries

1 tbsp raw peanuts, shelled
1.5 tsp white sesame seeds
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
pinch freshly grated nutmeg (or a pinch of grated mace-do not toast it though)
1 blades mace (or a pinch of grated mace, or alternatively more nutmeg-do not toast it though)
1 tbsp shredded dried unsweetened coconut

1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, toast peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chile flakes, nutmeg and mace until fragrant and toasted, around 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool.

2. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, toast the coconut the coconut until fragrant and light brown, around 30 seconds. Add the coconut to the cooling spices.

3. Once the spices have cooled, grind it in a spice grinder (if you do it too soon and it is still warm, it can become cakey).

Makes 4 tbsp, enough for the above recipe.

Can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.

Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

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22 Responses

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  1. flavorsofthesun said, on April 21, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    What an absolutely divine recipe–every aspect of it appeals to the senses. I, too, am crazy for mango season, which is quite long in Mexico where I live. I am always looking for new ways to use them. Thanks for the recipe.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      I only wish to live in an area where I could have my own mango tree. I honestly don’t think I could handle the heat, to be honest, but it seems like such a luxury to have such a great fruit at ones disposal. :) Let me know how you like it!

  2. tinykitchenstories said, on April 22, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I am definitely going to try making this, and the garam masala. I recently bought a 1,000 recipe cookbook from Pushpesh Pant from Phaidon press that is awesome, but I want the 660 Recipes book too! LOVE Indian food!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 22, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      I also have 1000 Indian Recipes and I find it amazing that there isn’t too much overlap… So many Indian recipes to try!! :) What are your favourite recipes so far?

      • tinykitchenstories said, on April 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

        The book is a little overwhelming for me, honestly. But I made the rogan josh which was melt-in-your-mouth awesome, Curried Eggplant and one of the mushroom dishes with coconut. They were all delicious. What are your recommendations? I’d love some help sifting through the book! :)

      • janet @ the taste space said, on April 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

        I don’t have Pushpesh Pant’s book but I will definitely have to look into it! The veggie curries sound delicious. :)

  3. tinykitchenstories said, on April 22, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    It’s GINORMOUS. I read through it for hours! Highly recommended. Besides, his name is freaking awesome. :)

  4. [...] Sesame-Flavoured Blend with Peanuts and Coconut (Maharashtrian Garam Masala) – Avocado Chutney – Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango – Plantains and Cabbage with Pigeon Peas [...]

  5. Joanne said, on April 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Well I’m glad to know it’s actually mango season and that I’m not just craving them relentlessly for no reason! I’ve used them in savory dishes a few times before always with fabulous results so I’m really excited to try this!

  6. Couscous & Consciousness said, on April 23, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    Here in New Zealand we don’t have a mango season – most of our mangoes come from Mexico. But I don’t care where they come from, I’m going to find a couple of mangoes tomorrow to make this – it sound so utterly divine I can’t wait.

    Thanks for sharing this at Cookbook Sundays.

    Sue xo

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 23, 2012 at 6:45 AM

      Yeah, in Canada we don’t have any local mangoes, either… The Mexican Ataulfos are fairlt easy to find, though, and still very good. We just go nuts for these Indian ones. They fly them in direct to our Little India! :)

  7. branny said, on April 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    This looks so good!

  8. easynaturalfood said, on April 25, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I’ve never heard of Alphonso mangoes, but they sounds delicious so I must look out for them. This curry sounds amazing! Would love to try a bowl of this :) Pinning it! Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night, look forward to seeing you again soon.

  9. branny said, on April 27, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I just made a simplified version of this and had a taste test – so great!

  10. Fabulicious Food! (@RenBehan) said, on April 30, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Awesome recipe Janet. Love Alphonso mangoes and found some British-grown fresh curry leaves today, so will be trying this recipe!

  11. [...] Janet at The Taste Space came back to us with a really interesting dish – Cumin Scented Pigeon-Peas with Mango – [...]

  12. [...] Lentil Mango Curry (inspired by the The Taste Space) [...]

  13. [...] so!! At the same time, Rob was making a ripe mango curry with toor dal (Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango) and he used the same beans. From the same bag. Within an hour, his beans were meltingly tender. [...]

  14. […] Plantain, Cabbage and Coconut Curry with Split Pigeon Peas (Indian Cabbage and Plantain Kootu) Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango (Mango Curry with Toor Dal) Indian Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Chickpeas (Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas) Indian Eggplant […]

  15. […] Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango from 660 Curries […]

  16. […] and begrudgingly started eating through the toor dal. Not that we don’t love it (WE LOVE TOOR DAL) but it just takes longer to cook and time is something we are lacking right […]


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