Like David Chang, I believe this year is all about rice. It's a delicious and ancient staple consumed by more than half the world's population. There are more than 7,000 varieties of rice and countless cultural preparations, so I've decided it's time to race around the world in the comforts of my own kitchen. Naturally I'm inviting you to join me on my rice adventures as I travel the globe experimenting with risotto, sushi, gumbo, and everything in between. To get things started, let's head to India with this rice and lentils with raita. It's healthy, fast, and delicious. Learn how I made it and
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
5 whole black peppercorns
5 cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
2 dried red chiles
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup jasmine rice or other long-grain rice, rinsed
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 1/2 cups hot water
1 medium cucumber—peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
2 jalapeños, seeded and very finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
- In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the sliced onions and cook them over high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer half of the onions to a plate.
- Add the peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, chiles and cinnamon stick to the onions in the saucepan and cook over moderately high heat for 1 minute, stirring.
- Stir in the rice, lentils, water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the sliced cucumber with the yogurt, jalapeños and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
- Gently fluff the rice and lentils with a fork and discard the whole spices. Transfer the rice to a platter, garnish with the reserved onions and serve with the cucumber raita.
- Main Dishes, Rice