Lunch, breakfast, supper, midnight snack - Dahl and rice does it all!
Dahl and Rice is one of those staples that got me through many years of living on my own, whether I had money or not at the time. It is cheap, wholesome and completely and utterly delicious, and so easy to make. It has got me laughed at by some gastro-gits, but I will survive the ignorant of the culinary world.
There are some very basic ingredients – Rice, Lentils of some type (I often use red lentils cos they are speedy, man), Salt, pepper, some onion, garlic, ginger, curry spices and a bit of stock. Actually, you can flavour this anyway you like with any spice and herb combinations, lemon or lime, coconut, fresh chilli – it is completely and totally up to you. Have a play and see where it takes you!
However, strawberry jam just does not do it for me, and I don't care how drunk I was, mate (and you know who you are) but you were not going to get that one past me. All right?
So, to make it!
Chop up the onions, garlic and ginger roughly and fry in some ghee at a medium risky heat for a few minutes till nice and soft and browning just a little. If you have some time, take it slow and let those onions really break down a little bit on a lower heat.
Add the curry powder or whatever spices and fry for a minute more. If you want it subtle, try Panch Puran; it is the Indian equivalent of five spice and is normally whole seeds. Don't worry, you don't have to grind them, leave them whole and just apologies to granny when they get stuck behind her false teeth. (What are you doing getting drunk with granny anyway?)
Add the lentils, fry for a few seconds, then add enough stock to cover the lentils and a bit. Bring briefly to the boil, turn to a simmer and cover. After about ten minutes give it a stir and add a little more stock if it needs it and check for seasoning – remember that most stock cubes have salt in them, so be careful. (Better still, grab some chicken bones and make you own! If you is veggie, then use water and and maybe add some veggies like peas and okra).
Cover and continue to cook till the lentils are done to your liking. Some people like them chewy, retaining their shape, some like them completely soft and sticky. Some like them a little more runny with more water, some like them very stiff. Up to you. If you don't have bowls, then too runny may create issues with the carpet/cat/budgie/sexual partner.
Oh, some lentils need a few hours of pre-soaking so check the packet! Red lentils don't.
While the dahl is finishing, cook some plain Basmati rice in the usual way. That is twice the amount of water to rice by volume. Bring to a boil, turn right down, salt, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Fluff up with a fork!
And that is it. Serve a big ladle full of rice and an equal quantity of Dahl and make sure you have two or three nice chutneys or pickles to go with it.
Lunch, dinner, tea, after the pub, even breakfast; this one dish will fill you up any time, any place, and is always a pleasure. I used to make it in quantity and heat it up in the microwave and eat with some scarily hot lime pickle. Well, you get to choose your friends in life...