I have always loved this rice dish because it is so light yet flavorful. But then that is a hallmark of so many recipes of the cuisine of Tamil Nadu in India.
I made it for dinner yesterday when we had friends come over to eat with us.
I always make so much more rice than ever gets used so there was lots left over. We had some of that for lunch today with the raita and carrot salad that were also left over from last night.
This recipe borrows from Viji Vardarajan’s “Samayal”.
1 cup of Basmati rice
a few curry leaves
1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds
2 tablespoons – a little more or a little less would be okay too- of chana daal (yellow split pea lentils), soaked in warm water for 3-4 hours then drained
juice of half a lime
salt to taste
1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 green chilli, sliced in to halves (optional)
2 tablespoons of oil
Wash and soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes, then cook with salt, a teaspoon of oil and 1 and a 1/2 cups of water. Leave the rice to cool, then fluff up the rice a little to separate the grains.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the curry leaves and the mustard seeds. When the latter begun to crackle and jump out of the oil, add the lentils and stir fry for a few minutes till they are quite soft. At this point they will begin to look a darker yellow and be just a little bit crisp (but not hard). Now stir in the turmeric powder, add the lime juice and then the rice. Mix everything together, then fry the rice for 3-4 minutes, turning over a couple of times and then take the pan off the heat.
Sambhar is an excellent accompaniment for this rice dish.