Spiced rice and lentils

Spiced rice and lentils

The Sunday Night Book
Patricia Niven

This makes a great accompaniment to a curry or a beautifully simple standalone supper, but can also become a speedy kedgeree with the addition of some flaked, smoked mackerel at the end. Alternatively, stir through some cooked vegetables and serve with yoghurt and herbs.


Quantity Ingredient
200g basmati rice
2 1/2 tablespoons sunflower or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 large onion, finely sliced
5 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
100g red lentils, rinsed and drained
550ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 small cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
3 spring onions
generous handful coriander
1 lime
40g butter
sea salt
mango chutney or hot lime pickle, to serve


  1. Rinse the rice well, then leave to soak until needed.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Throw in the mustard seeds, cloves and cardamom pods and cook for a couple of minutes, until aromatic. Add the onion and soften down for 5–7 minutes, then turn up the heat to let it catch and brown a little before adding the turmeric. Stir for a minute to release its flavour and wonderful golden colour, then add the garlic, chillies, cumin and ground coriander. Give all the ingredients a couple more minutes of getting to know each other before adding the remaining tablespoon of oil.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the lentils to the pan, stirring to coat with the onion and spice mixture. Drain the rice and add it to the pan as well, stirring to coat every grain before adding the stock, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Season with salt, then bring to the boil and stir thoroughly. Clamp the lid on the pan and leave it over the lowest possible heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, hard-boil the eggs, then peel and roughly chop. Trim and slice the spring onions, chop the coriander, and zest and juice the lime.
  5. Once the rice and lentils are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and leave for 5 minutes before serving. Taste the rice and lentils for seasoning, then stir in the butter, lime zest and juice and coriander. Spoon into bowls and scatter with spring onions and chopped egg.
  6. Serve with mango chutney or hot lime pickle.
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