Here are two tasty Indian recipes for your trouble (we got the recipes when we made dal in my preschool, and it quickly became a family favorite.) It was very easy to veganize - enjoy!
~1 ½ cups yellow split peas (sorted and rinsed)
~4 cups water
~1 tsp. salt
Boil together for about ½ hour, till soft. Skim off foam as needed.
~1/2 stick margarine
~1/4 tsp. ground ginger
~1 tsp. cumin
~1/4 tsp. coriander
~1 tsp. ground turmeric
~1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
~1/2 stick cinnamon
~4 whole cloves
Melt margarine in a pan and add spices, cook for a few minutes, then add to cooked pea mixture and mix well.
To serve as a meal:
Prepare steamed rice; keep half of rice white, mix in a bit of turmeric to other half to make it yellow; then mix both together. If desired, add some green peas for color.
raita - plain (soy) yogurt mixed w/ chopped cucumbers
Your favorite Indian bread (or thick pita bread in a pinch)
This is a single recipe. For a “crowd,” you would probably want to double or triple it – unless it’s just a small taste for everyone.
Far yummier with the dal, imho, than just doing the half-white/half-yellow rice trick mentioned above!
~2 cups basmati rice
~1 tsp. saffron (cheaper to use turmeric, if you don't have saffron...)
~4 cups water
~4 whole cloves (or however many you want)
~6 Tbsp. margarine
~4 tsp. instant vegetable bouillon
~1 small onion, finely chopped
~6 cardamom pods (the original recipe my mom got said to take the seeds out and discard them; we just put the whole pods in and it works fine)
~1 cinnamon stick (or some powdered cinnamon if you don't have sticks)
Sauté onion, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and saffron or turmeric in melted butter, until the onions are soft. Add rice and stir until coated with margarine. Add water and instant bouillon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook according to rice directions. (My mom's note: "You're supposed to remove the cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, but I think they look kind of neat, and after cooking, they're soft enough to munch on..." so yeah, leave 'em if you're lazy)
And finally, a secret for keeping rice from continuing to cook and getting sticky after it's done: remove the cover and put a towel (cloth or paper) over the pot, so the steam escapes, rather than condensing and making the rice gooey.