Jeera rice and dhal curry

Aromatic jeera rice – studded with cumin seeds and topped with herbs – is simpler than a biryani, making it perfect for quick weeknight dinners

Prep 0 h : 15 m
Cook 1 h : 0 m


  • 300g (1½ cups) basmati rice

    100g ghee

    Large handful of fresh curry leaves

    1 tbsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds

    Large pinch of brown mustard seeds

    Greek-style yogurt (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

    1 tsp ground turmeric

    175g small split red lentils

    450ml chicken stock

    2 ripe tomatoes, diced


  • For dhal, heat ghee in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 10 mins.

    Add spices and stir until toasted, 2 mins, 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.

    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 mins.

    Turn off heat, set aside covered for 5 mins, 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 mins.

    Add ghee and spices to rice, stir through, and season to taste.

    Serve rice with dhal, yogurt, coriander, lime wedges and chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion salad.