Monday, November 1, 2010

Indian Inspired One Pot Lentils and Rice

Just because I like good food and I like to cook doesn’t mean it’s all I like doing. I also enjoy reading personal ads and taking long walk on the beach. Just kidding. I don't really read the personals unless they are the personals on the back of The Stranger. That’s some good shit. At any rate, somedays, I just want to make a dish that takes me 5 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook, and I can have leftovers for lunch for a few days. And that’s exactly what this one pot meal is. Easy, delicious, filling, and contains a complex protein I made this yesterday afternoon for lunch, and had it for breakfast and dinner tonight. Then I decided to switch my dietary habits up a bit and had a chick-o-stick (ummm... Dear marketing people at Atkinson: you really should think about renaming your candy to something one would not find in Toys in Babeland…) and a glass of wine. 

Indian Inspired One Pot Lentils and Rice

1 cup jasmine or basmati rice

1 cup small red lentils
3 3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger)
1/8 tsp turmeric
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch of clove 
Salt to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Sautee garlic and cumin seeds for 3-5 minutes, until scent is released from seeds. Add the chili powder, ginger, turmeric and nutmeg and sauté for another minute. Add 3 3/4 cups water, bay leaf and rice and stir until ingredients are incorporated. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add small red lentils, cover, and simmer for an additional ten minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, mix in salt to taste, and chow down.

The trick to this recipe is to not let either the lentils or the rice get overcooked, mushy or soggy, nor have them undercooked or dry. The above method works fairly consistently for me, but like anything I make, it's made to be tweaked.

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