Ginger and garam masala, a traditional Indian spice blend, give this zesty rice dish authentic flavor. If you’re not a lentil lover, try the recipe with 2 cups cooked chickpeas.
1. Bring lentils and 4 cups water to a boil in large pot or Dutch oven. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until lentils are firm-tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup cooking water, and transfer lentils to bowl.
2. Wipe out pot; heat oil over medium high. Sauté onion in oil 4 minutes, or until just golden. Add carrots and rice, and cook 3 minutes, or until rice is toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly. Add garlic, ginger, and garam masala, and cook 1 minute more.
3. Stir in tomatoes, broth, reserved lentil cooking water, and lentils, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, then spoon pilaf into shallow bowls, and garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve hot.