October 21, 2008

Lovely Lentil Curry and Brown Sweet Rice

I've fallen in love with brown sweet rice!! The texture is unique, the rice literally "pops" in your mouth with the similar feel of a good barley. I don't really feel the need to extol the vast and varied virtues of eating brown rice, it's been done before..perhaps not with such seriously superb alliteration though, hehe.

However, I do want to tote the virtues of brown sweet rice because it's sooooooo darn tasty! I've tried a few methods for cooking this type of rice, but I think the best method is the boil/steam method. What you do is this:

Bring a generous amount of water to boil, add washed rice and boil until when you taste it, the texture is nearly done. This will vary depending on the age of the rice, hardness of your water, etc, so you really do have to taste it! Then you'll know for next time. Anyway, next... Strain it, put it back inyo the pot on the warm burner, put a lid on it and let it steam in it's own heat for about 10 minutes. You won't be unhappy with the results.

Anyway, I've been promising a friend of mine that I would post something nice and lentilly for him to try. Lentils are like legume fast-food. They're super fast and easy and nutritious to boot. They get a bad rap in some circles for whatever reason. I once read this cookbook on Middle Eastern food and the author had put in a little song translated from Arabic about lentils. It went something like:

"By the life of my father, by the life of my father I will not marry the poor man who will tell me to pound the lentils in the morning. By the life of my father, by the life of my father, I will marry the rich man who will tell me to pound the pastry with fat."

So I remember thinking..so lady, you've still got some guy telling you to pound on something and now you're pudgy to boot.

So now you know that lentils are wrapped up with that great little ditty in my mind which probably has it's own psychological definition or something. See what I get for reading too many cookbooks?

Back to the cooking bit.

Lovely Lentil Curry

Wash 1.5 cups of lentils, and simmer until soft. This is a fairly generous portion of lentils, about 6 to 8 people's worth.

2 T virgin coconut oil (of course you can use something else, but this has nice flavor)
2 t. whole cumin seeds
1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground turmeric
2 t. black mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper, red chile flakes to taste
1/2-1 cup coconut milk - Use fresh or powdered and use it to adjust the consistency.
dessicated coconut -optional, but tasty
cilantro, chopped

Fry the cumin and mustard seeds in the coconut oil until the mustard seeds begin to sputter and the cumin release it's fragrance, then add the powdered spices. Add the onion and fry until golden, then add the garlic. Stir for a minute and add the cooked lentils, then coconut milk, dessicated coconut if you're using it, salt and pepper and red chile flakes to taste. Cook for a few minutes to desired consistency, perhaps a little soupier if you're serving with brown rice, perhaps a little drier if it's being served solo, add cilantro to taste and serve.