Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mejadra (Rice and Lentils)

Mejadra - A Little Yumminess

A Little Yumminess_Mejadra

Where do cravings come from? Sometimes it seems they follow you for a lifetime, other times they come and go quite mysteriously. My little one is in the midst of a massive pickle phase at the moment which came on all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere. He’ll eat dill pickles any time of day (even breakfast) and steals the pickles off our plates when we’re not looking. My favorite junior foodie Ria made her grandparents keep a food diary on their last trip to Singapore, and paging through it reveals a very high frequency of Hainanese Chicken Rice. My older son has always craved the sweet stuff (the particulars change but never the framework), my husband the spicy stuff (or BBQ or chocolate covered bananas). Lately my cravings seem to lead directly to these spiced lentils and rice which are addictively sweet-savory and even more perfect with the tang of yogurt alongside. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it!

The ease of making this dish is another reason to love it, especially if you plan ahead a bit and cook the lentils the night before. Then it’s really only a matter of a couple of minutes of toasting spices and then plunking everything else to season the rice while it cooks. Admittedly, frying the onions is a huge pain (you’ve got to do it in batches and you have to pay attention so they don’t burn), but it’s definitely worth the effort because they really make the dish. Luckily, like the lentils, you can make them ahead of time.

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Coconut Rice

Shopping List: Thai Jasmine rice, unsweetened coconut milk, shallots, oil for frying the shallots

Coconut rice would be super tasty with Simran’s “Seafood Curry in a Hurry” and it couldn’t be simpler to make. Here’s the key: many recipes have you add the coconut milk as you begin cooking your rice, but trust me on this one….. stir it in during the last few minutes of cooking instead.

This method comes direct from She Simmers, one of my favorite food blogs. In her post “Coconut Rice with Chives: How To Make Fluffy Coconut Rice“, she advises adding the coconut milk (unsweetened, and not the “light” variety) 5 minutes before the rice is done. The ratio is 2 cups uncooked rice, 2 3/4 cups water, and 1 cup coconut milk. I use my trusty “chime-o-matic” rice cooker, but this technique would work for the stovetop as well. Her post is chock full of other interesting insights about coconut rice, so if you have a minute, check it out.

If your child is crazy about rice like mine, this is worth a try for a little change of pace. I think it’s especially yummy with a  sprinkle of crispy fried shallots.