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Jeera rice and dhal

A gently spiced curry and fragrant, herby rice – this is peak comfort food.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
For this dhal recipe, bought ghee is fine, but making your own gives the best flavour – just make sure to use unsalted butter or the final result will be too salty. It's very simple to make: just cook the butter gently until the fat separates from the milk solids, then strain off the fat. For more nuttiness, take the butter a little further so the milk solids begin to brown, then strain as usual.


  • 300 gm (1½ cups) basmati rice
  • 100 gm ghee
  • Large handful of fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds
  • Large pinch of brown mustard seeds
  • Greek-style yoghurt (optional), coriander sprigs (optional) and lime wedges, to serve
  • Diced tomato, cucumber and red onion seasoned with lime juice and salt, to serve
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp medium-hot curry powder (see note)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 175 gm small split red lentils
  • 450 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced


  • 1
    For dhal, heat ghee in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent (10 minutes). Add spices and stir until toasted (2 minutes), then add lentils and stir to combine. Add stock, tomato and 600ml water and bring to a simmer, then simmer until lentils are tender, topping up with water if it's getting too thick (1 hour).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, place rice in a saucepan and cover with 2cm water. Bring to the boil, stir once or twice, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes. Turn off heat, set aside covered for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Heat ghee over medium heat, add curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds in a wide saucepan and stir until fragrant (2 minutes). Add ghee and spices to rice, stir through, and season to taste.
  • 3
    Serve rice with dhal, yoghurt, coriander, lime wedges and chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion salad.


Choose any medium-hot curry powder you like. We like a blend, such as korma, or lentil and dhal spice mix from
Drink suggestion: Tangy homemade kombucha. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.