Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Curried Lentils Over Rice

    My mother served 18 months teaching the gospel in Japan when she was in her young twenties, so thanks to her we have a myriad of rice dishes that we all love and this is one of them. I remember not appreciating this dish when I was younger, but now it is a favorite of mine and I'm excited to share it with you.

    First, start your rice cooking in a nearby pot and then measure out 1 cup of lentils. Bring them to a boil on the stove in 1 cup of water, 1 quart of chicken/beef broth, two bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons salt. This softens and savors the lentils.

    Lentils are often glanced over when people shop because they don't know what to do with them. But lentils are extremely healthy. They are a full of so many good things like potassium, calcium, zinc, dietary fiber, lean protein, and iron. And they're not just healthy, they're tasty too. Don't give up on lentils just yet!

    Because we can our own chicken, beef and broth, it is easier to use it rather than use bullion (in fact, I don't think we even own bullion cubes or powder anymore). But, of course, if you don't have broth you can dissolve 2 beef bullion cups in a quart (4 cups) of water.

    We get our bay leaves from the Amish Bulk Food store just up the road, but I know you can get them at Kroger or Walmart, or any other place that sells spices. We get all of our spices through the bulk food store even the curry and the parsley that you will see later on.

    While that cooks, check on your rice -- yep, that's an important step. Once or twice, I've gotten this far and then remembered that I haven't started a batch of rice yet. That means a long dinner delay since rice takes almost an hour to cook.

    In another pan sate your coconut oil (or butter or margarine), 1 onion chopped, 1 clove of garlic minced, 1 tsp of salt, and 3 TB of curry. After that is sauteed together add the cooked lentils and all the broth and bay leaves that come with it

    After the two are combined add 2 TB lemon juice and parsley to taste.

    I completely guess with my parsley every time so I can't even give you an estimate on the amount. I suppose, like with everything there is no right or wrong amount -- it's just what you prefer. Let the whole thing simmer for 5 minutes.

    Put the rice and the lentils on the table and serve hot together. Some of my siblings put homemade ranch dressing on top, but I prefer it just the way it is. It is filling, healthy, and just plain yummy. If you like curry, you are bound to like this.

    3 cups rice
    6 cups water
    2 cups lentils
    1 cup water
    1 quart chicken/beef broth (or a quart of water & 2 cubes of bullion)
    2 bay leaves
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter or margarine)
    1 large onion chopped
    1 clove of garlic minced
    2 tsp salt
    3 TB curry powder
    2 TB lemon juice 
    Chopped parsley to taste

    To cook your rice, put water and rice in a covered pot on the stove. Cook on high heat until the lid on the pot starts to rock or the steam-release starts to whistle. Then turn the heat down to a medeium/low temperature and cook for 45-60 min. Avoid lifting the lid until 45 minutes have passed. You know that the rice is cooked when there is no more water left in the pot.
    Bring lentils, water, chicken broth/bullion, bay leaves, and salt to a boil on the stove. While that heats up, saute oil (or butter/margarine), onion, garlic, salt, and curry powder in a separate pan. After the onions are clear rather than white, add the lentil mixture along with all the broth and bay leaves that come with it. As it simmers, add lemon juice and chopped parsley to taste.
    Serve hot over rice.