One-Pot Wonders

Hearty rice with chickpeas, lentils and veggies

June  1, 2020
Author Notes

Coming from India's IT famous city Bangalore(or Bengaluru), I often crave this delicious dish. While looking to make something that represents my colourful city, I thought this is it!
Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who was lost in a forest, chasing a deer. After days of roaming, he finally finds a humble hut with an old lady. Seeing that the prince was hungry, the old lady prepares a one-pot meal of rice, chickpeas, lentils, and veggies. The prince having been saved from hunger, named this forest as 'Benda-kal-ooru'(literally meaning cooked-lentils and beans-town). Later the British changed this to Bangalore, no doubt marveling at the intricate depths of taste in this recipe.
Personally, I love to cook this, because it is supposed to be a poor person's meal. Something one could prepare with almost only pantry staples(well at least an Indian or Thai pantry). The beauty of the dish is that you can toss in any vegetables available to you along with some rice or pasta, and almost any preferred form of protein, and voila you have a perfect healthy warm meal that will keep your taste buds asking for more. Also, you can make a lot and re-warm in the microwave very easily.
In my opinion, in the current corona crisis, adding this recipe to your repertoire would be greatly beneficial. I hope you all try this. I personally like to enjoy this with some potato chips, let me know how you like yours. —nomel-chai

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 7-8 people(or makes 7-8 meals))
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Lentils(Masoor Dal)
  • 1.5 cups Rice(medium or long grain)
  • A can of cooked chickpeas or half a cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup whole shallots, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup cubes(2 inch) kohlrabi
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 0.5 cups green beans, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons Sumac
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 of a stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup cashews(roasted, if salted make sure to add less salt to the dish)
  • salt to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Add the butter into a large pot(remember this is a one-pot meal and everything should fit in this pot in the end).
  2. Set the heat to medium-high and make brown butter by continuously stirring for 5 to 7 minutes once the butter has melted. As the butter browns, the milk solids toast to a gorgeous nutty flavor.
  3. To the same pot add the shallots (peeled and whole) and a pinch of sugar, on high heat.
  4. Leave the shallots to caramelize on one side. This should take 7 to 9 minutes.
  5. Remove the caramelized shallots to a bowl and reserve for later. Leave most of the browned butter in the pot.
  6. In a bowl add the lentils and wash thoroughly in cold water(until the water runs relatively clear, 2-3 times of adding water, washing the lentils and pouring out the water should suffice).
  7. Add the desiccated coconut and toast for 40 seconds in the butter on medium-high heat. To this add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, and chili powder.
  8. Add the diced tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and stir for a minute. Then add the washed lentils.
  9. Add 5 cups of hot water into the pot and stir thoroughly. Let the lentils come to a boil on high heat.
  10. After the lentils are soft and tender(which would take about 10 minutes on high heat (be careful to make sure that the water does not overflow) add the vegetables and the washed rice.
  11. After 6 minutes on high heat(with some occasional stirring in-between), add the sumac, pepper, and cinnamon powder and stir.
  12. Add the chickpeas or frozen peas, and the caramelized shallots. Cook for 5 more minutes on medium heat.
  13. Add salt to taste. The consistency should be that of porridge. If it is too thick, add some more hot water. If it is too soupy, keep it on the stove a bit longer, but remember that it will further thicken once it cools down. Also, we are looking for rice and lentils to be mushy.
  14. When it reaches the desired consistency, take off the heat, and add the cashews and stir. Remember, this is only basic instruction. I would strongly encourage you to experiment with other veggies, lentils, beans, grains, nuts, and spices.
  15. It is already super delicious by itself. Serve plain or with a Greek salad or Indian yogurt raita, and some potato chips.

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