Serves 4 as a main dish.
200 g/7 oz/1 cup long grain rice, preferably basmati
200 g/7 oz/1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
5 cardamom pods, bruised
4 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 medium onions, finely sliced
750 ml/11/2 pints/3 cups hot water
2 teaspoons salt
Wash rice and drain well. Sort, wash and drain the lentils. Both should be washed at least 30 minutes beforehand and allowed to drain completely.
Heat ghee or oil in a saucepan with a heavy base and well-fitting lid. Fry the spices and onions until onions are golden brown. Take half the onions from the pan and set aside. Add rice and lentils and fry, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes. Add hot water and salt, bring to the boil, then turn heat as low as possible, cover tightly and cook without lifting lid for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for a further 5 minutes. Serve garnished with the reserved fried onion and accompanied by natural yoghurt and some fruit chutney.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)