Pick over the peas and remove any stones. Wash and drain. In a small pot, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-low heat. Add the peas and saute for 2-3 minutes. Pour 2 cups water over them. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until peas are just tender. Drain water from peas and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons cooking oil in a pot over medium heat, add chopped onions and saute until slightly golden. Increase heat to medium-high, add beef and saute until brown on all sides. Add turmeric and crushed tomatoes, mix well. Pour 2 cups water. Add ground cinnamon and dried limes. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beef is tender, stirring occasionally (add more water during cooking, if necessary).
Then add split peas, saffron, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more water if stew is too thick.
While the stew is simmering, fry the potatoes until golden. Arrange the fried potatoes on top of stew just before serving. Serve with Persian Rice.