Have been thinking about posting meals on a plate in addition to the individual recipe posts and this is one of them. I am hoping it will make it simpler to have recipes for meals on plates all together in one post. Some people enjoy cooking but there are others who just don’t or aren’t a dab hand at it, or simply don’t have the time to plan a menu and these posts should hopefully come in handy.
Brown lentils are whole orange lentils with the skin and have a sweet, nutty taste very like Puy lentils. You can buy them at large supermarkets, Asian and Middle Eastern shops. As always, any questions or queries, just drop me a line and I will do my best to help.
When preparing a meal which includes rice, always soak the rice before you do anything else – it is perfectly fine for the rice to soak more than an hour, only improves Basmati rice! That done, we can now put the lentils on!
1 cup brown lentils (these are whole orange lentils with the skin available in Asian stores and big supermarkets, similar in taste to Puy lentils)
½ medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1½ inch piece of ginger, grated or minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
About 12 leaves of fresh mint or 1 teaspoon dried mint
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons oil
- Wash the lentils and add all the ingredients except mint and bring to boil
- Turn heat to lowest, cover and cook for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and cooked
- Add mint (fresh or dried), uncover and gently simmer until dal is thickish, about another 10 minutes
- For the tarka, fry the cumin seeds and onion in oil until onion is golden brown
- Pour on dal and serve with rice
Tip: You can use green lentils or Puy lentils instead of brown lentils in this recipe
While the lentils are cooking, get going with the butternut squash…………..
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
3-4 tablespoons oil (any cooking oil or olive oil enough to coat the squash)
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
- Put in pre-heated oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 20-25 minutes until squash is cooked
Lentils simmering, squash in the oven, time to put the rice on
2 cups Basmati rice, soaked for 1 hour or more if you have the time
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
- Wash and rinse rice in a large deep saucepan (always use a large pan for rice)
- Add water and salt – the water should stand at least 2 or more inches above the level of the rice (cooking rice is like cooking pasta; always boil in lots of water and that way it won’t stick)
- Bring to boil on high heat. Stir and lower heat to medium and let the rice cook for about 3-4 minutes. You will need to stand by and check the rice – there are many different varieties and qualities of Basmati rice and the cooking time will vary a little.
- When the rice is al dente, almost cooked but has a tiny bit of bite to it, strain it in a colander
- In the saucepan, put 3 tablespoons of water (basically a small splash – you won’t need to measure once you’ve done it a few times!) and 2 tablespoons of oil. Put the rice back in the colander.
- Cover the lid with a clean teacloth or napkin and place tightly on saucepan.
- On lowest heat or if you have one, using a heat diffuser/simmer ring (that’s what I use and couldn’t do without – you can buy it from Amazon and it costs very little - very useful for all food which requires very low heat) steam rice for 15 minutes. Bear in mind that this is on the lowest heat setting on the hob, do check after 10 minutes by carefully lifting the lid and if steam is pours out, the rice should be done