Lentils of various sizes, shapes, flavours, and textures can be found in my pantry. As a vegetarian, it goes without saying that lentils play an important role in our daily diet. Being Indian, it becomes even more important because lentils play such an important role in so many of our meals. Dals aren't the only way we eat lentils. Adding lentils to rice is one of the numerous ways we utilise lentils in our cuisine, such as this Red Lentil Rice, also known as "Masoor Dal Pulao" in Hindi.
Any lentil can be served with rice, albeit the cooking time will vary. We use red lentils because they cook faster than other lentils. Some homes also find it convenient to pack it in their loved ones' lunch boxes. Depending on our time and excitement, we can certainly prepare some fascinating, delicious, and healthful dishes to serve alongside a papad, raita, or pickle.
● 1 cup basmati, soak in water (10-15 mins)
● 1/2 cup red lentil (Masoor dal)
● 1 tsp cumin seeds
● 1 medium onion, chopped
● 1 medium tomato
● 2-3 spring onions thinly sliced
● 1 bay leaf
● 2-3 each of cloves and cardamom
● A little pinch of turmeric
● 2 cloves of finely minced garlic
● 1-2 green chillies finely sliced
● 1 inch peeled and grated ginger
● 1 tsp garam masala
● 2-1/2 cups coconut milk (can be replaced with vegetable stock)
● Salt to taste
● Coriander for garnishing
● Squeeze some fresh lemon juice to taste
1. In a skillet, sauté the cumin, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, garlic, chilies, ginger, onion, and salt in 1 tablespoon oil (or butter).
2. When the onions are cooked, add the tomato, turmeric, and garam masala, stirr it well for 2 mins.
3. Combine the lentils and rice in a mixing bowl. Give it a good stir and continue to cook for another minute or two, until the rice becomes aromatic and transparent.
4. Combine the coconut milk, water, and stock in a mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly.
5. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
6. Gently fluff it.
7. Now it's time to add some colour and taste. Garnish it with coriander and spring onions as per the taste. Mint leaves are also delicious with this. I add some lemon juice to this rice for a couple of reasons. Of course, for the sake of flavour. It also helps to lower the sodium level, and most crucially, the citrus aids in the absorption of the iron found in lentils. As a result, anytime I cook with lentils, I include lemon juice in the recipe.
8. Serve hot with your favourite side dish.
9. A teaspoon full of ghee would add an incredible flavour to this rice. Enjoy.