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Lentil Risotto with Rainbow Chard and Carrots

1/2 C Chana Dal or yellow split mung dal (95g)

1 Tbs + 1 tsp Vegetable Oil divided,

1 C Arborio Rice rinsed and drained

5C Water or Vegetable Broth divided

1 tsp Fine Sea Salt divided

1 Tbs Fresh Ginger grated

1 tsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

10 Cashews broken into pieces - plus a few more for garnish

10 Curry leaves optional

1 Tbs Shallot minced

1 C Chard chopped and packed

1/2 tsp Fresh Garlic grated

For Garnish:

3 Tbs Vegetable Oil I use coconut oil

2 Carrots peeled and cut into match sticks

Place the chana dal in a pan over medium heat and stir, toasting lightly for about 3 minutes until it slightly turns color. Remove from the heat, rinse well in cold water and drain. Set aside. In a large, heavy saucepan with 3" sides or a Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the washed dal and rice and toast lightly again, being careful not to break the grains - about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 C of the vegetable/water broth mixture bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then turn down the heat to low; cook, covered without stirring, until all the water is absorbed - 12-15 minutes. Add the remaining 3 C of broth cover and cook over low heat until the rice is completely cooked and softer in texture, about 15-20 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, cover and turn off the heat. Set aside. In a sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 tsp of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, pepper, cumin seeds, cashews, curry leaves (if using), and shallot and fry until they splutter and become toasted, 30 seconds. Add the chopped chard and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and sauté until it is wilted down and cooked through about 3 minutes (it will seem dry, but it's okay, keep going until wilted). Just before removing the chard mixture off the heat, toss in the garlic, stirring, and incorporating for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and the spicy chard mixture to the cooked risotto mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. The rice should not be neither too firm nor soggy or watery (if too stiff, add a few tablespoons of water and stir). When you spoon it onto a plate it should very slowly spread. Check for salt, adjust as needed. For the garnish, heat the oil in a flat-bottomed, nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook until caramelized and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve the risotto with the crispy carrots on top and a few chopped cashews.

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