Toasted Sesame & Coconut Rice, with Black Lentils

(10 minutes, serves 4)

Adding seeds, coconut, and lentils to your rice boosts its nutrition as well as its flavor. If you’d like, you can use black sesame seeds instead (or a mix); black seeds retain their hulls, and have a slightly more bitter flavor and more nutrients. This savory rice is a tasty accompaniment to a fruity curry, such as pineapple, mango, or ripe jackfruit.

2 c. cooked rice
1/3 c. white sesame seeds
2 t. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 dried red chilies (plus 4 dried red chilies, broken into pieces)
2 T. vegetable oil
1/4 t. mustard seed
2 t. urad dal (black lentils)
1 t. cumin seed
1 stalk (about a dozen) curry leaves

1/2 t. salt

1. Dry roast sesame seeds in a medium sauté pan, stirring constantly on medium-high, until they start to pop; remove to a bowl.

2. In the same pan, dry roast two red chilies and the coconut, stirring constantly, until coconut is dry and lightly golden; don’t let them burn; remove to the same bowl.

3. Add oil to the pan and mustard seed. Heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to pop. Turn heat down to low; add urad dal and fry for about 25-30 seconds, stirring.

4. Add cumin seed, curry leaves, and the rest of the dried red chilies (broken up), and sauté for about 30 more seconds, stirring.

5. Add sesame seed & coconut mixture, salt, and rice to the pan, and stir until well-blended. Serve hot.

NOTE: Sesame seeds can go rancid over time — they’re generally fine in a dark, cool pantry, but if you don’t use them frequently, they should be stored in the fridge or frozen, in a tightly-sealed package. Check seeds for taste before use; if they taste sour or otherwise off, throw them out.

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