Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Versatile Savoury Lentil Sauce (v)

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Yeah I know. It doesn’t look like much in the picture. A soggy jumble of bits in a wet sauce. If you could smell it though, it would smell GOOD! This sauce can form the basis of so many different things: bolognaise, lasagne, moussaka, savoury lentil bake, shepherd’s pie… I always make in a big batch as it freezes well and it’s a great work day staple to have stashed away for days when you have zero time or energy to cook from scratch.

Last time I made this, I made this quantity as I have a massive Le Creuset pan and it saves time in the long run. Obviously if you have smaller pans or no space in the freezer reduce quantities accordingly…

For 3 batches of sauce, each enough to feed 4-6 people you need:

  • 3 cups brown lentils (green also work, as do puy. Don’t use split red lentils!)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of marigold stock powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in plenty of water. How long will depend on the age and variety of lentils. My brown ones took 15 mins. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion, leek, celery and garlic in the oil until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the sauce along with the lentils.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tis done. Serve like this over pasta for bolognaise or use as a base in numerous other recipes.