Easy Weeknight Indian


My son asked why we don’t eat more beans, at dinner last night. Surprised and pleased at the same time, I promised him we would eat them more often, starting with the following night. In planning, I took into consideration that Wednesday night is Lost night, and we have friends over for dinner after the kids go to bed. So the meal had to be interesting enough for company, but simple enough for kids.

I chose an Indian theme, making a simple lentil dahl with carrots and onions, brown rice pilaf, sauteed spinach, raita, and pappadums*, for fun. I love this meal, as it is so easy, complete within one hour, and the flavors are so vibrant and out of the ordinary! I prepared the raita while the lentils and rice cooked and popped the pappadums in the microwave for a few seconds, as the kids set the table. Surprise your family and friends with a homemade Indian meal. It’s healthy, inexpensive, and unusual. Break out of the old routine! Excite your tastebuds!

Many of the items for the meal are available at most large grocers, but the pappadums* and mango pickle* may be a little more difficult to find. Asian or natural grocers usually carry these items.


Lentil Dahl

1 onion, diced

1 cup lentils, rinsed

2 carrots, diced

2 cups broth

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp garlic

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp cumin

Saute onion in a splash of oil. Add other items once onions become translucent. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Brown Rice Pilaf

1 cup brown rice

1 ¾ cup water

Drizzle a small amount of oil into saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and toast until color changes slightly. Add water, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes, or until water is absorbed.


1 cucumber, halved, seeded and diced into small bits

½ cup plain yogurt

¼ tsp mint

dash of salt

Combine and chill for 30 minutes before serving.



*Pappadums must be toasted/fried before eating. Frying in oil works but tend to make them curl. Microwave is quick and easy. Just pop them in, in a single layer, and cook until they puff, about 20 seconds(dependent on microwave).


*I like to serve my lentils with a mango or lime pickle, which is a prepared spicy condiment. A little goes a long way. It make simple lentils extraordinary!


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One Comment on “Easy Weeknight Indian”

  1. Nona
    July 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Looks delicious Melissa.

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