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Brown Basmati & Lentil Pulao Recipe

Rice with lentils is a perfect match made in heaven. It’s a delicious & flavorful combination of lovely tastes & texture all in one yummy bite. For most Indians, rice & dal are not only daily staples – but they are also comfort foods.

I was recently introduced to brown Basmati rice – don’t knock it, this stuff is tasty! It’s also very healthy & nutritious – combine it with lentils & you’ve got one healthy meal. Brown Basmati is a rich source of dietary fiber, iron & protein since both the bran & germ are still intact. You can easily substitute brown Basmati for regular Basmati in most rice dishes. Brown Basmati rice is now widely available in most large supermarkets & Indian grocery stores. Brown rice in general takes a little longer to cook, so plan accordingly.

My Brown Basmati & Lentil Pulao is protein packed. I often serve it simply with a little home made yogurt & some crispy papads (Indian lentil crackers).



1 cup brown Basmati rice, rinsed well (about 3-4 times or until the water is clear)
½ cup masoor dal (whole brown lentils)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tsp pulao masala (or you can use kala masala or garam masala)
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
¼ cup lightly toasted pine nuts (or you can use toasted unsalted cashew pieces)
1 tsp fresh lime zest
juice of ½ lime
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), butter, or oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


Soak the brown Basmati rice in enough water to cover for 1 hour, this will help speed up the cooking process. Drain well & set aside until needed.

While the rice is soaking, you can cook the masoor dal. If you are using dry lentils, you cook them very easily on the stovetop. In a small sauce pan on high heat, add 2 cups of water along with the masoor dal. Bring to a good boil, cover, reduce the heat to simmer and let cook until the dal is tender but not mushy (about 20-30 minutes). Do not overcook the dal. Alternatively, you could cook the dal in a pressure cooker if you wish. Set aside until needed.

In a deep skillet or pan on medium high heat, add the ghee. When hot, add the cumin seeds & let them sizzle. After about 30 seconds, add the bay leaf along with the onions. Stir & sauté the onions until they are lightly browned. Next, add the ginger & the spices (pulao masala, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & pepper). Stir well & let the spices cook for a few minutes before adding the rice. Mix well to combine, making sure all the rice grains are well coated with the spices. Let the rice “toast” until fragrant & aromatic, then add 2 cups of water. Stir & bring to a gentle boil. Now reduce the heat to low, cover & let simmer for about 40-45 minutes. Then turn off the heat, remove the pan from the stove top & let sit covered for another 10-15 minutes. Gentle fluff with a fork, this method will yield perfect brown Basmati rice every time.

Lastly, add the cooked lentils along with the pine nuts, lime zest & lime juice. Stir well to combine all of the ingredients & let cook for 4-5 minutes to allow all the flavors to properly mingle. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with cilantro leaves & serve as part of any Indian meal. I like to add just a little ghee before eating :-)


How To Sprout Beans, Lentils and Dals:

Only whole lentils, beans and dals can be sprouted. Rinse your dal carefully under cool running water. In a large bowl, soak the dal overnight in enough water to cover completely. Drain, rinse well and transfer the dal back to the bowl and cover with a slightly damp cheesecloth (or dish towel). Store in a dark warm area. Check periodically to make sure there is enough moisture, but you should see lovely sprouts within 24 hours.
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Content copyright © 2018 by Sadhana Ginde. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Sadhana Ginde. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sadhana Ginde for details.


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