Last year, I discovered that rice salad was an amazingly wonderful thing. It’s replaced pasta salad as my favorite binge-on-at-barbecues-until-the-shame-kicks-in dish. Actually, being perfectly honest, shame doesn’t even stop me most of the time. I will eat rice salad until I can’t physically get up to get more. You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?
It all started with Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Dressing. I made it, I loved it, and I had to have it in my regular rotation ever since. But somewhere along the line, I started to wonder about trying out different flavors and going in a new direction. I have hashed over ideas for almost every cultural combination you could imagine, but there was one that I literally dreamed about up until the day I made it happen. Which was it? Indian Spiced Rice & Lentil Salad.
This rice salad shows off toasted almonds, golden raisins, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, mint, and cilantro, with garam masala and cumin-flavored rice and lentils, and a lemony yogurt drizzle. If anyone ever thought rice was boring, they definitely haven’t tried this. I mean, we’re talking wah-wah-waaaaoooww in the flavor department.
And while the list of ingredients is a bit long, it’s really not very difficult to make. A little chopping, some sauteing, a bit of boiling, and quick toss is all it takes for you to get Indian Spiced Rice & Lentil Salad for yourself. You can share it with people, I guess, but you won’t want to.
Make it for your next get-together– actually, scratch that. Make it for dinner tonight. You’ll be glad you didn’t wait. Take a photo of your creation and tag #hostthetoast on Instagram or Twitter to show it off!
- 1 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1 small jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
- 1½ teaspoons garam masala
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 4⅓ cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small cucumber, chopped
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 1 handful cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup yogurt
- In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, toast the almonds. Once they begin to brown and become fragrant, remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Add in the oil and saute the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the garam masala and cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the water and stir in the salt and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the lentils. Cook the lentils for 5 minutes. Add in the rice and raisins and return to a boil. Boil, uncovered for 5 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the water is absorbed, about 8 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato, cucumber, and reserved toasted almonds. Mix in the mint leaves and cilantro, reserving some to top.
- Combine the yogurt and lemon juice and drizzle over the rice salad. Garnish with the remaining herb leaves. Serve at room temperature.
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