Posts Tagged ‘brown basmati rice’


We first had this dish at Donald Douglas’s birthday lunch. (Donald played the dourly determined Captain MacNeil in Poldark and has been a cherished friend and neighbour of ours here in France for years.) It was his step-daughter Daisy’s birthday contribution to the celebratory feast…


…together with a magnificent cream sponge with lighted candles!

It’s versatile and can be served in a number of ways–as a salad or a vegetarian main course or a side dish–it has a pleasing depth of taste.

Soaking the brown rice beforehand helps it to cook more easily in time with the lentils.

100gms basmati brown rice

175 gms puy/green/brown lentils

1 tblsp cumin seeds

1 tblsp coriander seeds

2 tblsps olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp each ground allspice and cinnamon

salt and pepper

300 ml hot water

1 large onion–peeled, halved and sliced

2 tblsps olive oil

Small bunch parsley or coriander–chopped

  • Wash the rice and soak it in a bowl of cold water for twenty minutes.


  • Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small pan until they begin to colour.


  • Then pop them in a mortar and pestle them to break them up a bit.


  • Wash and drain the lentils,  bring them to the boil in plenty of water and cook them until they begin to soften–about twenty minutes–they should not become mushy.
  • Drain the lentils and return them to the pan.
  • Mix all the spices with the two tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Drain the rice and add it to the lentils in the pan.
  • Mix in the spices and turn over everything together.


  • Integrate the hot water and season with salt and pepper.


  • Bring up to the boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan tightly.
  • Cook until the rice is done–allow about thirty minutes.


  • As it cooks heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and fry the sliced onion slowly until it colours and crisps a little.


  • When the lentils and rice are cooked fold in the onions–leaving some to sprinkle on top with the parsley or better still the fresh coriander.

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My copies of Rose Elliot’s vegetarian cookbooks, Not Just a Load of Lentils and The Bean Book, have been on my bookshelves for ages and are much thumbed!

First published in the 1970sher recipes have withstood the test of time–and the ingredients often fit in with my adopted way of eating.

This is adapted from a recipe in The Bean Book. 

I made it in the morning and gently reheated it in the evening–giving the spices time to settle and meld. We had it for supper last night and it was worth the wait.

Meredith is wary of pulses because of their tendency to cause flatulence.

This time the positive outweighed the negative and she gave it the thumbs up–phew!

for 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 small onion–chopped

1 clove of garlic–peeled & chopped

1/2  teaspoon of powdered cumin

1/2 teaspoon of powdered coriander

1/2 teaspoon each of garam masala ( an earlier post), turmeric, ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cayenne/chili powder

1 teaspoon fresh root ginger–peeled & chopped (optional)

1 large jar of cooked chickpeas–drained (the precise quantity is not critical!)

2 fennel bulbs–outer leaves removed, quartered and chopped

1 large leek–damaged outer parts removed, cut down to the base, washed and sliced

2 tablespoons of parsley or coriander–chopped

1 pint of vegetable stock (I use organic cubes diluted with boiling water.)

  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Gently fry the cumin seeds until they start to pop.
  • Add the onion and garlic and soften–about 3 minutes.

  • Add the spices and mix them in.

  • Add the chickpeas.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and mix.

  • Add the stock–start with half a pint and adjust as needed.
  • Bring the mixture up to boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Fold in a tablespoon of parsley or coriander.
  • Sprinkle the second  tablespoon of parsley or coriander over the dish when you serve it hot with…
  • Brown basmati rice and yogurt sauce (see the next post).

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This was published a couple of years ago.

It has been a favorite for over thirty years and is a tasty standby for a rainy grey day when going anywhere for supplies is the last thing you feel like doing.

Meredith on her detox for a week mentioned it this morning and we’ll have it tonight, as below, with some of the broccoli I bought yesterday and brown basmati rice.

Dal-otherwise known as Comfort Lentils in our house.

This is from my book Delicious Dishes for Diabetics-out in the UK and officially launched November 1st in the USA.

Our Sikh friend, Tari, affectionately known as the “Carefree Cook”, is an example to all us worry guts.

He never panics when people turn up unexpectedly and have to be fed.

He looks to see how many extra guests are coming through the door and adds more water to the dal accordingly!

We’ll eat these lentils tonight with broccoli, simply steamed, drizzled with a little olive oil (maybe a squeeze of lemon?) and a some brown basmati rice.

[If there’s any dal left over, save it for another occasion! Form the cold dal into little burger shapes, coat with some chickpea or whole wheat flour and fry lightly in some hot oil.]

for 4

500 g/1 lb red lentils

1 litre/1¾ pints/4 cups stock (I use an organic vegetable stock cube per 500 ml of water)

4 tbsp vegetable oil (I use olive oil.)

1 medium onion – chopped

1 tsp coriander seeds – pounded in a mortar and pestle

1½ tsp cumin seeds – pounded in a mortar and pestle

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp chilli powder

  • Rinse the lentils very thoroughly – until the water shows clear.
  • Put them in a saucepan with the stock and bring gently to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down to low and let them simmer, covered, stirring from time to time.
  • They are done when a small puddle floats on the top.
  • Turn them off.
  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan.
  • Add the onion and fry gently until it colours nicely.
  • Add the spices and mix them in well.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes longer to release the aroma.
  • Add the cooked spices and the onion to the lentils and mix in thoroughly.
  • Heat through and serve.

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