“Lentils and rice is a dish that’s eaten in numerous forms all over India; it’s warming, comforting, and nutritious, and I could probably eat it every day. This version starts with nicely browned onions (which is common in Indian cooking and adds a tremendous amount of flavor and depth to the dish), then garlic, ginger, and garam masala (an Indian spice blend) are toasted in the pan until fragrant. Strangely enough, once you add the lentils to the pot, they key is not stirring them until the end; if you leave the lentils alone they’ll develop a wonderful creaminess as they becomes tender and begin to break down. Spinach and tomatoes, added just in the last few minutes, add freshness and a touch of acidity to brighten up the dish.”
Curried Lentil Stew over Jasmine Rice
- ¾ cup jasmine rice
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ¾ cup split yellow lentils
- 2 ½ vegetable stock
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Put the rice in a saucepan with 1 cup water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes.
While the rice cooks, put the oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute. Add the lentils and the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle bubble, partially cover the pot, and cook without stirring, adding a bit more chicken base or water if the lentils look too dry, until the lentils are tender and beginning to fall apart, 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the spinach and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve over the rice.