Monday, July 13, 2009

Curry Lentils & Spinach with Biryani-Style Rice

My curry obsession might be getting out of hand.

In fact, my the flames of my burning Indiaphilia are stoked to panic levels every time I persuade one of my friends to accompany me to an Indian buffet. But I can't stop. Won't stop. And I won't stop cooking and posting curry-centric recipes unless there's some sort of Indian intervention. Until then, my fellow curry freaks, enjoy.





1 c. white basmati rice
2 c. water
1 T. olive oil
handful frozen peas
handful cashews
handful raisins
about 1 and 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
a couple dashes cumin
freshly ground black pepper


2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. freshly ground ginger root
salt and pepper
several good dashes curry powder
1 can vegetable broth
1 c. red lentils
3/4 c. water
1 bunch fresh spinach leaves, chopped
handful fresh cilantro, chopped


Start making the rice. Bring the water to a boil, adding the oil and some salt. Add the rice, cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the rice has absorbed about 3/4 of the water. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.


Meanwhile, heat the oil for the lentils/spinach in a large saucepan with a lid. Cook the carrots first for a few minutes, until they start to become tender. Add the onions and cook until they too are tender, seasoning with a little salt and pepper.


Judging by how dry the carrots and onions are, add a little more oil (start with a teaspoon) if needed. Add the red chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant.


Add the vegetable broth and the lentils. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat until the lentils start to absorb the liquid and soften. Add the cumin and cook for a few minutes, covered.


Stir in the spinach and cilantro, and add the water and a little more curry, salt, and pepper. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve over a bed of the biryani rice and enjoy!

Much to my Indian craving's delight, this came out delicious. Hearty yet not heavy, flavorful and fiery, so healthy I couldn't help but stand over the leftovers and shovel some more in in the name of nutrients. The rice, especially, was delicious. There's just something about fluffy white basmati rice that's so irresistible.

And since I'm bragging, let me just throw in that I got the ingredients for this dish AND most of the ingredients for my next blog post (coming soon, my little chickadees) at Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck) for a measly $20 (!). I have - no joke - spent almost that much just loading up my bowl at the hot bar.

How did I perform such a magical feat, you ask? The Whole Foods bulk bins - these babies alone are worth the trip down to North & Sheffield. Rather than buy a GIANT bag of cashews for $12 and watch them go rancid, I got just enough to make the rice, for about $2.50 (with some left over for snacking). I also got the raisins, rice, and lentils from the bulk bins too. And not only do they save you money and prevent food waste, they're better for the environment because they use so much less packaging (you just scoop whatever it is into those thin plastic bags that you use for produce). And sampling small amounts of grains, nuts, or dried fruits from the bins means you can try new and interesting things without having to commit to 16 oz. of them.

Definitely pay the bins a visit. And give the biryani-style rice a try! If you need me, I'll be elbow-deep at the buffet.

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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