Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Potluck Recipe #22: Lentil Veggie Biryani

Our doyenne of spice, volunteer chef Carol Hancuh, served this savory Indian stew at lunch and had us all lining up for seconds. With nearly five teaspoons of curry spice, it is pleasantly piquant without burning all taste from your tongue. When she passed along the recipe, Carol noted that it is very forgiving; feel free to use substitutes for any of the veggies you don't have -- or don't enjoy.

On a nutrition note, combining lentils with rice is not only delicious, it creates a complete protein — add the egg and you've got a dish that packs an energy wallop! Serve this at a potluck and your guests will leave satiated and ready for action.

Lentils & Veggies Biryani
(Serves 6 to 8)

1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1-inch of ginger root, peeled and chopped
4.5 tsp. of curry powder or:
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
6 1/2 vegetable stock, boiling
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 3/4 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup green beans, halved
8 oz. of cauliflower
1 cup of mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup unsalted cashews
3 hardboiled eggs, shelled and halved (optional garnish)
Cilantro sprigs (optional garnish)

  1. In a large stew pot, heat the oil, then add the onions and cook gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger and spices and cook gently, stirring frequently for one minute.
  2. Add lentils, tomatoes, eggplant and 2 1/2 cups of the stock to the pan and stir well. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the red bell pepper and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the lentils are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Meanwhile, bring rice and remaining stock to boil, adding green beans, cauliflower and mushrooms. Simmer for 15 minutes, until rice and vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and cashews to the lentil mixture, mix lightly and pile onto a warm serving platter. Garnish with egg and cilantro sprigs — and serve hot.

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