A good, basic, rice. The split-peas don’t really work, so I may leave them out next time. Only down-side is the 30 minute prep on the rice, but you can do that while making other dishes.
2 cups basmati rice
2 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 dried hot red chili
1 tsp urad dal or yellow split peas
1 tsp whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt, if desired
Put the rice in a bowl. Wash in several changes of water. Drain. Let the rice soak in water that covers it generously for 30 minutes. Drain through a sieve and leave in the sieve suspended over a bowl to drip.
Pour the oil into a heavy, medium pan (that has a tight-fitting lid) and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the red chili, urad dal, mustard seeds, and sesame seeds. As soon as the dal turns reddish an the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the drained rice, turmeric, and salt. Turn the heat down to medium. Stir very gently and sautÃ© for a minute. Add 2 /3 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to very, very low, and simmer gently for 25 minutes.
[ From “At Home with Madhur Jaffrey” ]