Source: Cafespice Namaste by Cyrus Todiwala.
Feel free to use any type of lentil or even chickpeas with this recipe. Yellow peas are a mild and nutritious option, with a taste similar to mashed potatoes (with onion, butter, and garlic on top).
For the Dhan (which means grain or lentil)
1 cup Yellow Peas (or any lentil), washed well, soak in water for 2 hours.
1 tsp. ground turmeric.
1 TBL butter or ghee.
1/2 tsp. salt (or 1 TBL Bragg Liquid Amino).
For the Vaghaar (means tempering)
1 TBL butter or ghee.
1 TBL good oil.
1 tsp. cumin seeds.
8-10 garlic cloves, minced.
1 green chili (hot or not, your choice), minced.
For the Rice
2 bay leaves.
2 green cardamom pods (crushed).
1/2 tsp. salt.
2 cups basmati rice.
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped.
For the Fried Onions
5 TBL good high-heat oil (such as coconut, refined peanut, or refined safflower).
2 very big sweet onions, sliced very thin.
First cook the Dhan (yellow peas) in a covered pot, cover the peas with 1/2 inch of water, add the turmeric, sale, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until peas are tender but not mush. Most of the water should be absorbed. Add the butter or ghee and stir well. Puree half of the peas to make a thick pouring mixture (add water as needed). Combine the pureed peas with the other peas. Set aside, keeping it warm.
For the Vaghaar, put the butter and oil in a saute pan and heat slowly, raise heat until it sizzles. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for about 1 minute, then add the minced garlic and minced chili. Saute this until the garlic turns golden brown. Add this mixture to the Dhan, mix well.
For the rice, cook it in the usual way for the rice you select, along with the bay leaves, salt, and cardamom pods. However, stop cooking the rice while it is still a little bit firm. If this leaves the rice wet and/or water in the pot, drain out the water and then bake the wet rice in a 350 degree oven until it is dry and fluffy. Remove the bay leaves and cardamom pods. Mix the chopped cilantro into the rice, keep it warm.
For the Fried Onions, heat the frying oil quite hot (but not smoking). Add some of the thinly sliced onions, stir to break-up the stands, and be sure they are submerged in the hot oil. Stir frequently, until the onion turns light brown. At this point remove the sizzling onions, drain off the hot oil, and put onto paper towels. The onion will actually continue to cook for a bit and get darker!
Serve everything hot, with rice in the bottom of the bowl, then the Dhan, then some fried onions on top.