Curried Dal Chawal (Lentils & Rice) Balls

“Sometimes we forget
That simple can be nice,
A meal as staple as
Lentils & rice.
Warm & satisfying
A universe of taste,
Made fresh daily
Or from leftovers waste.
Re-packaged and re-designed
And no longer a bore,
Your school night dinner
Can also steal the show.”

It's amazing what we can do with leftovers. Other than adding them to other dishes to create new ones, you can also just serve them up as is, but in style. It gives the dish a whole new look, and suddenly you have a creation you didn't even imagine could exist.

Dal chawal (lentils & rice) as an appetizer may sound absurd to most. But hey, you have risotto balls don't you? And these are not fried, versatile in flavor and thus can be served with a variety of salads, popadams/crisps and chutneys. Let your imagination run wild. Here is what happened when I did.

1 cup red lentils
½ onion, sliced lengthwise
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 dried red chili
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon asafetida powder
Salt to taste
1 cup boiled rice (better if it’s a day old)
Fresh coriander to garnish
Tamarind or Mint Chutney
Any variety of potato chips
Boil the lentils with garlic, ginger and onions in 2 cups of water.
In a non-stick pan, heat the oil and cumin seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the dried red chili and remaining spices. Cook for a few seconds and then add the lentils. Continue to cook for 5-8 minutes till most of the liquid is absorbed. Discard the red chili and add the boiled rice. Mix & cook till the mixture begins to stick to the sides (we want it dry and sticky to be able to shape it into balls). Stir in some fresh coriander and keep aside to cool.
Once cooled, shape into small balls. Serve with yogurt (plain or spiced), chutney and a piece of potato chip. A simple make over for the simple Dal Chawal (Lentils & Rice)!