Given that rice is grown throughout southern India, it makes sense that there are so many variations on how to serve it. Fried chana dal adds an earthy crunch to this citrusy preparation, which is delicious served alongside rich vegetable curries. This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
- 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. chana dal (yellow split peas), rinsed until water runs clear
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 12 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 small green Thai chiles or 2 serranos, roughly chopped
- 1⁄4 tsp. asafoetida
- 1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a 4–qt. saucepan. Add rice; cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, 10–12 minutes. Meanwhile, combine dal and 1 cup water in a bowl; let sit 30 minutes, then drain. Drain rice and transfer to a bowl. Add oil to pan; heat over medium-high. Cook mustard seeds until they pop, 1–2 minutes. Add reserved dal; cook until reddish-brown, 5–7 minutes. Add turmeric, curry leaves, garlic, and chiles; cook until garlic is golden, 2–3 minutes. Add asafoetida; stir into rice with lime juice and salt.