Curried Rice and Lentils With Pickled Mango Garnish -killertomato

Sometimes I notice that one cabinet, the pantry, is nearly empty while the one next to it can't be opened without a bottle of some exotic spice falling out. Almost nothing to eat, yet plenty of saffron! Incidentally, saffron rice with the stewed hen I wrote about in an earlier post did make a decent dish one night. We were peering into the pantry this morning deliberating how best to make use of its contents and B pulled down the container of lentils that's been there forever and instructed me to do something with them. "I hate lentils!" was my parting declaration as he went out the door. It's true, I've never gotten excited about lentils. Not even when they were served with Cotechino sausage at La Pietra Cucina on New Year's, not when Julia Child raves about them on TV. But a while back, I pickled some green mangos and though piquant and juicy, haven't really made it past the odd tasting here and there. This is a recipe for curried rice which can be served with many things-I've still got my eye on you, green tomatoes out in the yard- and certainly with lentils and pickled mangos.

For the rice:
2 c. basmati rice
3 c. water
1/3 c. olive oil
1 heaping Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
2 tsp. Tamari
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Warm the oil and mix in spices. After a minute, add Tamari and lemon juice. Mix into cooked rice.
Lentils are simple to cook. It is best not to add salt. You will cover them with water or broth, boil for a couple of minutes, then reduce heat to low and cover until liquid is absorbed. It can take a longer or shorter amount of time depending on the variety- like rice.
I didn't have Tamari today, only the oyster mushroom soy sauce that's been doing a swell job of standing in many places these days.
I got the curry powder at an Indian grocery. I like this brand. I also picked up a box of achar pickling spice that day because I was curious and followed the recipe on the back for pickling green mangos. It involved salting and spicing them and leaving out in the sun for a few days, then jarring and leaving in the pickle cabinet for another few days (yes, I have a pickle cabinet!) which softens and ripens them to their yellow color and juicy texture. I think the mix had fenugreek, chili pepper, turmeric, mustard and aniseed, as far as I could tell, and probably some other stuff too. I might find a good recipe and mix my own next time. This one is toooo salty. Love salt but hate it when it overpowers. However, these so-salty mangos were perfect for dressing up an otherwise unsalted dish.

The holidays are almost over, so I'm saving all citrus rinds to sugar down and candy. Another post on that soon, so stay tuned!

Lentil recipe to try next: pappadums! Indian snack made with lentil flour.

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