Celeb chef Yudhika Sujanani L’Etang of Curry Me Home shares a perfect South-African Indian side dish to serve at your next dinner party



  • 45ml sunflower oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5ml cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 15ml crushed garlic
  • 15ml red chilli powder
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 5ml ground coriander
  • 5ml garam masala
  • 2ml turmeric
  • 250ml frozen peas
  • 60ml cream
  • 1 x 400g tinned lentils, drained
  • 800g cooked basmati rice, cooled
  • 50ml butter, cubed
  • 5ml yellow food colouring
  • 125ml boiling water
  • fresh coriander, to serve


1. Heat the oil in a pot and add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. When the spices are fragrant, add the cumin seeds and sauté until they begin to splutter. Add the onion and salt and sauté until golden brown. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2. Stir in the chilli powder then add the chopped tomatoes, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and the turmeric. Add the peas and mix gently.
3. Pour the cream over the mixture and sprinkle over half of the lentils.
4. Layer the cooked rice over the lentils and then sprinkle the remaining lentils on top. Place the butter on top and drizzle over the yellow food colouring.
5. Pour the boiling water over the top and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam on the lowest heat setting until the rice has heated through and the excess moisture has evaporated.
6. Serve garnished with fresh coriander.

Yudhika’s tips: You can also add parcooked carrots and potatoes to your pilau and use low-fat yoghurt instead of cream.

This recipe serves 4 – 6.