As someone who rarely eats meat and almost never makes it to the fishmonger, I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian main dishes that don’t just feel large side dishes. Mujadarra is one of my favorites: basmati rice, Puy lentils, and lots of spiced yogurt for serving and scooping.
This here is another rice+lentils creation, the idea for which came from a couple of Food52 recipes. The first is a pistachio dukkah, which I’ve had my eye on for a while; do you know all about dukkah already? It’s pretty new to me, and altogether delightful: a combination of nuts, seeds, and spices that’s technically a condiment but very easily slips into savory granola territory. The Food52 folks warned me that I might shovel this stuff straight into my mouth, and that’s pretty much what happened. Fortunately, I made a double batch.
The other recipe was for lentils and rice with tamarind sauce, which rather ingeniously called for tempering nigella seeds before mixing them with tamarind paste. Nigella seeds are a favorite discovery from my time living in Jerusalem: their flavor is subtle, a bit like caraway but less severe and more mysterious. I don’t use them nearly enough.
Combined, these two recipes became a pretty magical vegetarian main: a pile of rice and lentils drizzled with tamarind sauce, sprinkled with crunchy dukkah, and served with a scoop of yogurt. It’d be great alongside curried tofu or salmon with Indian spices, but it’s substantial and interesting enough to stand on its own.