Here's a nice way to make TWO Indian-inspired dishes without the work of two dishes. When you're done, you have an Indian-Style Rice Pilaf, and an Indian Dal which can be served together for a luxurious meal, or separately for two simple meals.
Sort and rinse
3 cups Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)
8 cups water
Bring to a boil, cover & simmer till done - about 30 minutes
(If cooking Red Lentils in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot, cook them 3 hours on High)
Then, puree with an immersion Blender
While Dal is heating, Prepare two cups raw rice according to package directions. (Brown is great, but white is good too. Long Grain or Basmati here is better than Short grain). If you have 8 cups of leftover rice in the fridge or freezer, you can skip this step! (as I usually do)
Then, prepare your "Flavor Packet"
Saute in a skillet
(this can be done with a lot, little, or no oil, according to your preference. If you use frozen onions, the moisture in them will allow the other things to cook sufficiently without oil)
2 cups chopped onions
1 Tablespoon Garlic
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger (I use the jarred kind)
2 teaspoons whole cumin seed (if you prefer a milder Cumin taste, Substitute 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin instead of the Whole Cumin Seeds)
2 teaspoons whole mustard seed (black if you have it because it's prettier, but yellow will still taste good)
*Add heat of choice, if desired (cayenne, red chili, etc) - I cook for a little one, so I do Sriracha at the table rather than cooking hot spices into food, but have used other methods in the past.
Divide the Flavor Packet in half (you'll have about a cup to divide into two 1/2 cup portions)*
Finish the Dal:
Add one flavor packet to the Dal. Add Lemon juice & Garlic Salt to taste. I use from 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup lemon juice (I usually just pour instead of measuring, and our family LOVES lemon!), and garlic salt generously.
Dal may be served with Cilantro Garnish, and Sriracha or other hot sauce on the side.
Then, Finish the Rice:
Add the other Flavor packet to a medium hot skillet. Add the rice & stir.
1 pound bag frozen Green Peas
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Dry Parsley (this is optional -for eye appeal more than for taste)
Stir, cooking till Peas are hot through. (If rice gets a little too dry, drizzle in a little boiling water to moisten)
To serve Rice
Place Rice Pilaf on a plate, and garnish with Roasted, Salted Cashews or Peanuts. A salad on the side is nice.
Tip for dining with Omnivores: A dollop of plain yogurt on top of the rice, or a Raita on the side is a nice touch. Tandoori Chicken also goes well.
Freezer instructions: Both of these meals freeze well. Do not add the nuts to the rice before freezing, or they will get stale/soggy (BTDT). If you have a small freezer, you can make the flavor packets in advance, and wait until you have 6 to 8 cups leftover rice to make the Pilaf in a flash. Likewise, the Dal can be made by simply boiling lentils & water & adding the flavor packet, lemon, & garlic salt.
*Many years ago, this Rice Pilaf was inspired by a John Robbins Recipe, and the Dal was inspired by an Indian Cookbook (I cannot recall which one). Over the years, I personalized them.