In this rice dish, cooked basmati rice is fried with toasted lentils, chiles and plenty of coconut before being topped with toasted cashews. It's an ideal rich rice dish to soak up curry sauce or any Indian stew.
Using equal parts rice and water, make sure the pot is simmering before you cover it. This ensures the proper heat level so that in 20 minutes, the rice is fluffy and the water has been absorbed. Afterward, be gentle when you toss the rice with the spices. You want to season the rice but not break up the grains.
To learn more, read "A Passage to Indian Cooking."
Recipe adapted from Claire Hoffman
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups water
Kosher salt, to taste
4 tablespoons ghee, divided
¼ cup cashews
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon chana dal
1 teaspoon urad dal
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
3 curry leaves
2 red Thai chiles
1 green Thai chile
¾ cup unsweetened grated coconut
1. In a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. In a medium saucepan, add the rinsed rice and the water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, then scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until the rice is tender and all the water has evaporated, 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
2. In a wok, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee over medium heat. Add the cashews and cook, continuously stirring with a wooden spoon, until the cashews are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.
3. Raise the wok to medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the ghee and the coconut oil. Add the chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red and green Thai chiles, and asafoetida. Stir constantly until the ingredients become toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the grated coconut and continue to stir until golden brown, 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved rice and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer the rice to a bowl, garnish with the toasted cashews and serve.