Test Kitchen - Black Lentil Red Rice with Mushrooms

It has been a long time since the very first Test Kitchen post but I have tremendously enjoyed doing them. Uncommon ingredients get me excited, and there have certainly been a plethora of those. When red rice cropped up as one, I went online to search for what exactly the rice was. Seeing that it had a bite to it texturally and somewhat of a nutty flavor, I decided to pair it with some black lentils and (continuing with my mushroom habits lately) oyster mushrooms. You might not find the result visually appealing mainly because it's dark reds and blacks (though those ARE my favorite colors...) but it definitely is a filling dish that is worth having. I also love that you don't need too many ingredients!

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 6-8 servings)

Black Lentils

  • 4 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 cups oyster mushrooms, halved
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
Red Rice

  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1 cup red rice, dry
  • 2 cups water

Step 2: Prepping the lentils
I have the two separated because the lentils and rice have their own cooking times. Because we're using the dry ingredients here, they need to be brought to an edible texture. Heat up olive oil in a large skillet on medium before adding in cumin and coriander seeds. They'll start to smell quite amazing and once their fragrance becomes stronger (~1 minute), mix in dry black lentils and coat in the spices. We don't want to cook the lentils this way but want to get them thoroughly covered in the oils. Then, depending on the depth of your skillet, add in broth & water one cup at a time, letting it boil away before adding more. If you find that the lentils are still too tough after your combined three cups, feel free to add more broth.

Step 3: Prepping the rice
While the lentils are boiling away, you can work on the rice. Heat up olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute sliced shallots until just barely translucent. Add in dry red rice and stir to coat for about 1 minute. Then add in water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover. It will cook in approximately 20 minutes.

Step 4: Finishing
Once both components have finished cooking, cook down the mushrooms in with the lentils until soft. Mix together rice and lentils. Turn off heat before adding in green onions so they don't wilt. Enjoy!

The next Test Kitchen ingredient: green split peas
"Split peas are an agricultural or culinary preparation consisting of the dried, peeled and split seeds of Pisum sativum. They are peeled, in that in addition to not being in the seed pod in which they grew, the splitting process also removes the dull colored outer skin of the pea. They come in yellow and green varieties. The peas are round when harvested and dried. Once dry, after the skin is removed, the natural split in the seed's cotyledon can be manually or mechanically separated, in part to encourage faster cooking due to increasing the surface area exposed to heat." [Wikipedia]

We have been exploring a lot of dried goods lately and green split peas are one of them. When the picture goes up on Facebook, feel free to throw your suggestions our way!

Photography by Duc Duong.