This Cape Malay Split Pea soup recipe is a delicious, hearty, nourishing and comforting one pot meal that can be made with meat or as a vegan soup.
The classic split pea soup recipe with dumplings or kleitjies is a staple meal during the wet cold Cape winters. It was also an obligatory starter on our Ramadhan iftar table along with my mother’s creamy Cape Malay Boeber.
For most of my childhood I was not a fan of soup and always preferred to have boeber instead for iftar. So whenever my mother made a pot of beef split pea soup she always made a pot of boeber too. My aunts loved boeber as well so we ate our fill while my parents and brother enjoyed their soup.
My first foray into soup eating and enjoyment was on my first trip to Istanbul in March 2000. Simple lentil soup was elevated to a new dimension with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of chili flakes. I’ve loved my soups with these additions ever since and one of my favorites is this Incredibly Easy Vegan Red Lentil soup.
How to make Cape Malay Split Pea soup recipe
- This easy Cape Malay Split Pea soup recipe is made with dried split green peas that have been soaked overnight and then cooked with meaty beef and vegetables.
- The split peas are soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time as well as to release some of the phytic acid and reduce bloating after eating the soup. It usually shows up as foamy scum that must be skimmed off the surface.
- The peas are then boiled separately and added to meat and vegetables for a filling meal or starter.
- This Cape Malay Split Pea soup recipe can also made into a vegetarian or vegan split pea soup recipe by removing the meat and adding smoked paprika for flavor. Vegetable stock should be used instead of water for the cooking liquid.
- My mother did not like to add too much fresh tomato to the soup because somehow the tomato causes the soup to go sour quickly. Tomato paste adds color and depth of flavor.
- Dumplings are optional but very delicious if they are not heavy and dense. Use a teaspoon to make the dumplings as they do swell and increase in size.
What to eat with the Cape Malay Split Pea soup
- Daltjies spinach and sweet corn fritters
- Sweet corn and polenta fritters
- Cape Malay Pancakes with coconut
- Delectable Mince Samoosa recipe (keema samosa)
- Scrumptious Chicken Samoosas
- Cape Malay Mashed Pumpkin fritters recipe (Pampoen koekies)
- Homemade Farmhouse White Bread recipe
Cape Malay Split Pea soup recipe
Split pea soaking
- 210 grams dried split peas approximately 250 ml or 1 cup
- 1 liter water approximately 4 cups
- 100 grams onion, finely chopped 1/2 large
- 300 grams beef soup bones or stewing lamb with bones approximately 250ml or 1 cup
- 5 allspice berries
- 5 cloves
- 300 grams carrots, chopped 5 medium
- 150 grams potato, peeled and cubed 1 medium
- 50 grams tomato, chopped 1/4 medium
- 25 grams soup celery, chopped stalks and leaves approximately 125ml or 1/2 cup
- 1 litre hot water, add more if required approximately 4 cups
- 1 stock cube
- 5 ml tomato paste approximately 1 teaspoon
- 2.5 ml salt adjust to taste
- 1.25 ml chili flakes 1/4 teaspoon
- 1.25 ml black pepper, freshly ground adjust to taste
- 70 grams self raising flour approximately 125 ml or 1/2 cup
- 10 ml butter, melted approximately 2 teaspoons
- 30 ml water or soup mixture approximately 2 tablespoons
Soaking the peas - the night before
- Rinse the split peas twice then place in a small pot covered with 500 ml cold water. Let the water come to the boil then remove the from the heat and rinse through a strainer.
- Return the split peas to the clean pot and add 500 ml water and boil until soft (40-50 minutes).
- Skim off the scum that rises to the surface as it cooks. These impurities are what causes flatulence, indigestion and makes the soup sour quickly.
- Set aside until required.
Making the soup
- Add the onions, meat and spices to a large pot and cover with enough water to cover the ingredients. Cook on low until the meat is tender (60-75 minutes).
- Cook the chopped carrots, potatoes, tomato, celery and the stock cube in 1 to 1 1/2 liters of water until soft (25-30 minutes).
- Add the split peas with it's cooking liquid to the vegetables and blend until smooth.
- Add the blended vegetables to the meat and bring back to a simmer for 15 minutes and check the consistency and seasoning.
- Mix together the dumpling ingredients until smooth batter is formed.
- Add spoonfuls of the dumpling mix to the soup. The dumplings will rise to the surface when they are cooked.
- Serve with chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and crusty bread.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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