Fragrant Red Lentils with basmati rice and broccoli romanesco


by: Ana Banana

These split lentils cook very quickly into a fragrant puree eaten, souplike, with unadorned basmati rice and, in this instance, the spiraled whorls of bite-sized broccoli Romanesco. (You can vary the vegetable and include such diverse choices as grilled okra, green beans, cauliflower, spinach sautéed in mustard oil, and so forth.) With the addition of yogurt, whole wheat flatbread, and cheese, such as small portions of the Feta and Ricotta Cheese Skillet Pie, this supper offers complete protein as well as speed, ease, and succulence. A dry Gewurztraminer, such as Navarro’s from Mendocino, will stay with the underlying flavor of the coconut milk with its body and spicy fruit.


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serves: 4

Basmati Rice

3 tablespoons butter, oil, or ghee

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 large (or 2 medium) jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced

2 cups split red lentils (rinsed in several changes of water)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 leaf bay

sea salt

1 can coconut milk

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro (plus sprigs for garnish)

1 head broccoli Romanesco or cauliflower (cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1/4 cup yogurt

Nutrition Facts
Fragrant Red Lentils with basmati rice and broccoli romanesco

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 663

  • Total Fat: 33.4 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 26.2 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 25.1 mg
  • Sodium: 113.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 67 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 31 g
  •     Sugars: 4.1 g
  • Protein: 28.8 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Start the rice.

2.  Melt 5 teaspoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, two-thirds of the ginger, and the jalapeno and cook for about 2 minutes. Next add the lentils, 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, half the cayenne, the bay leaf, 3 cups water, and 1 scant teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft, about I5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt, remove from the heat, and stir in 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

3.  While the lentils are cooking, steam the broccoli pieces until tender but still somewhat firm when pierced with a knife.

4.  Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large skillet. Stir in the last of the ginger, turmeric, and cayenne, cook gently over low heat for a minute, then add the vegetables and 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Raise the heat, add the last of the cilantro, swirl everything around the pan, and cook until the water has evaporated. Season with salt.

5.  To finish, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons butter in a small skillet over high heat, add the mustard seed, and cook until it begins to turn grayish, about a minute. Stir this into the lentils.

6.  To serve, pack the hot rice into ramekins and turn them upside down, one each, in a shallow pasta bowl. Spoon a cup or more of the lentils around them, then lift off the ramekin, leaving the rice intact. Swirl a few spoonfuls of yogurt into each bowl, then add the broccoli Romanesco. Garnish with big sprigs of cilantro and serve.

Cooks' note:
Start the rice so that it will be ready when the lentils are. Then make the lentils and, while they're cooking, steam the broccoli Romanesco.

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