Mint-Lentil Coconut Rice is my go-to simple, delicious, refreshing dinner for those busy weeknights or lazy weekends. You can eat it as is or with an equally simple yogurt sauce (raita). It hearty and healthy! Plus the whole dish takes only 20 minutes to make, from start to finish. And it’s vegan.
I grew up with eating coconut rice. I am from South of India which is the seat of coconut production in the country. It produces over 90% of the coconut demand in the country. And the reason, why we have so many coconut-based dishes, from savory to sweet, across the country.
In South India, Coconut Rice is prepared for lunch, dinner, as part of a marriage feast and for festivals (we have so many, you see). One such festival is Pongal in Tamil Nadu (a Southern state in India). We celebrate, the harvest festival, Pongal, during the month of January. On the third day of the festival, called Kanu Pongal, we usually make “variety rice or kalanda saadam”. Coconut Rice is one of the delicacies prepared on that day along with lemon rice, tamarind rice, and yogurt rice.
So, it’s very special to my family and has a lot of happy memories attached to it. I learned to make this rice by watching my mother make it. And over the years, I have added my own special touches to it. Like in this recipe, I have added refreshing mint and hearty lentils, giving it a new depth.
Healthy, simple and delicious rice with the goodness of lentils, sweetness of coocnut and refreshing taste of mint. A one pot meal.
1 Cup Basmati Rice
1/2 Cup Toor Dal
1.5 Cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Oil/Clarified Butter or Ghee
1/2 Cup fresh or frozen grated Coconut
1 medium Onion finely chopped (Optional)
3 Cups fresh Mint finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Oil (Vegetable or Sesame Seed oil)
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
2 teaspoon Urad dal
1 dry Red chillies
1 fresh Green chillies (like Serrano)
1 inch fresh Ginger -finely chopped
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Sambar powder
A pinch Asafoetida/Hing
1 Tablespoon Salt + more as needed
1/4 Cup toasted Peanuts (Optional)
Wash the rice 2 or 3 times to remove the excess starch
Sauté the rice and dal in 1/2 teaspoon of oil/ghee or clarified butter just till it gives a nice aroma. Don't brown the rice. Add 1.5 cups of water. Cook the rice.
If you are using the Instant Pot, use the sauté function for the above step. Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.Turn off the heat and do a 10 minutes Natural Release. Release the remaining pressure and open the lid carefully.
For the Seasoning
In the meantime, when your rice is cooking, prepare the seasoning.
Heat oil in a medium size saucepan, add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters
Then add the urad dal and red chillies and roast till the urad dal turns a lovely golden brown.
Add the onions (if using) and fry them till they slightly turn color. you don't have to brown them.
Now you can add the remaining ingredients - green chillies, slivered ginger, asafoetida, mint, coconut, sambar powder, turmeric and salt. Sauté for 2 minutes, till it combines and comes together. (The mint will wilt).
Toss with the cooked rice, Taste and adjust for salt. Serve.
My Roots My Rambles explores food that showcases my journey from South of India (My Roots) to the United States (My Rambles). I am a Professional Chef, who likes to make unique and original recipes inspired by my travel and life experiences. The ability to have fun and enjoy making fresh, healthy family dinners is the key focus of this website.