Monday, March 22, 2010

One Pot Curried Lentil and Rice Dinner

I have been a legume fan for a long time and love to promote them to all who will listen! As a young dietetic intern at a big hospital in Halifax, I remember being in a meeting with several food service administrative dietitians and cooks and being asked my opinion on future food trends. Surprised to be asked;  I replied with a one word answer: "legumes".
It didn't go over very big at that time...but I remain loyal to that prediction and think that more people are becoming interested in adding beans and lentils to their diet for their economical, health and environmental virtues.
This is a dish that I have been making since I left home twenty five years ago, taught to me by my sister, Joanne.

One Pot Curried Lentil and Rice Dinner
Another appliance recommendation: a rice cooker! We had a student from China live with us for four months several years ago. Kim was an 11 year old with a big appetite and although he didn't appear homesick, he told me that he missed his mother's rice and that I MUST buy a rice cooker.
So, to appease him, we went out together to pick one. Looking at four choices, I was hoping that the smaller would suffice, as I was thinking about cupboard space - and really, how often would I use it!?
As I pointed to the smaller ones Kim would announce "not big enough". So we ended up coming home with what I thought was an immense appliance to 'just cook rice'.
Well, every time I take out that rice cooker to make oatmeal porridge, barley, lentils and yes.....rice, I think of the brave little boy, Kim, with the big appetite!
So, back to the recipe:

I usually make a big pot of this in order to have 'planned leftovers' for the next day - so if you don't want leftovers then reduce the recipe!

Rinse 1 1/2 cups  dried green or brown lentils and 1 1/2 cups brown rice.
Put them in the rice cooker with 6 cups water
Choose the rice setting which will be about 50 minutes.
Clean and break a whole head of cauliflower into flowerets.
Measure out 1 cup frozen peas.
When there is about 12-15 minutes left on the rice cooker timer, open the lid quickly and throw in the cauliflower and peas   ---no need to stir.

I use about 5 tbsp of Patak's Mild Curry Paste, mixed with ~1/2 cup coconut milk (you could also use a broth). The amount of curry paste you use, is, of course, a matter of taste.

Blend this together in a little bowl (o.k., so it is a one bowl AND a one pot dish). When the rice, lentils and veggies are cooked, pour the curry coconut sauce into the cooker and mix all of the ingredients together.
I served this dish with sliced mango. A little dollop of plain yogurt and chutney is also nice.

Everyone in our family loves this dinner....except our sweet little carnivore, Bella!
Look how disappointed she is when we have meatless meals!

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