I felt the winter chill today and wanted to cook something warming and satisfying without the heaviness of too much meat. This rice dish is packed with flavour and filled with the goodness of lentils and cauliflower. I usually make this without any meat but added chicken this time to turn it into a complete meal. This is a great mid-week dinner and you can cut back on cooking time by adding the cauliflower with the rice instead of roasting it separately. I like roasting the cauliflower because you get a sweeter and fuller flavour this way.
You can serve this curry rice with some chutney and papadums. But making pappadams creates more work, you might say. Well, if you've got some cooking oil spray, you can easily make pappadams in your microwave in no time. I use the regular supermarket brand Maharaja's Choice and you can cook 10 pappadams in the microwave in 45 seconds.
In summer, you can create a lighter version of this dish by omitting the chicken and serving it as a cold rice salad.
1 medium-sized cauliflower head, cut into florets
450 g chicken thigh fillets, skin and fat removed, cut into 2-cm pieces, (optional)
400g tin of lentils, drained & rinsed
1 & 1/4 c basmati rice
3 T korma curry paste
1 medium onion, chopped
3 c vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon quill
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T olive oil and pinch of salt for roasting cauliflower
lemon wedges (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 °C. Place cauliflower florets in a shallow baking tray. Toss in oil and salt. Bake for 30 minutes, until the florets are golden brown around the edges.
Heat 1 T olive oil in a large casserole pan over medium heat. Cook chicken thighs (if using) until brown all over then remove from pan. Add onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, bay leaves, cinnamon quill and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork and stir in lentils. Add cauliflower and coriander and mix through rice.
Serve with lemon wedges.
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