Although this was last night’s dinner, here’s my contribution for Meatless Monday:
Curd rice, dal, lime pickle
For the Indian food newbies, curd rice is cooked basmati rice with salt and Greek yogurt mixed in. To this was added black mustard seeds, dried curry leaves and crushed chiles toasted in ghee. It’s a dish that hails from South India originally. I love it because it’s “comfort food”, and also because you can vary the flavor just by using different proportions and kinds of spices.
Cook rice as you normally would (I prefer 1 cup rice to 2 1/4 cups water, in roughly those proportions). When the rice is done, remove the pot from heat and set aside for one hour. Stir in 1 cup Greek yogurt; taste for salt. Mix well. Heat some oil or ghee in a frying pan, then add 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds, 3-4 dried curry leaves and a couple of crushed dried red chiles. Toast the spices over medium heat, or until the mustard seeds pop and the chiles are nearly black. Remove from heat, then pour this mixture onto the rice. Stir. Curd rice can be served as is, or with lentils and a pickle or chutney, as pictured above.
The dal consists of lentils, onion and garlic, cooked in ghee, with panch phoron, turmeric, sea salt and chiles. Ordinarily I’d add some tomato, but I didn’t have any.
Fry the aromatics (onion, garlic, maybe some chopped ginger) in ghee, then add the spices, 1 cup lentils and 5-6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medioum-low and cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir in some chopped cilantro, then serve at once.
The lime pickle is just limes, chile powder, sea salt, sugar, lime zest, black peppercorns and lime juice.