2 cups raw basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
2 teaspoons urad dal (black matpe beans; see headnote)
2 teaspoons chana dal (split chickpeas; see headnote)
20 raw cashew pieces (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground hing (asafetida, see headnote)
15 curry leaves, or as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse under cool water twice, to remove excess starch. Drain.
Bring the water to a boil in a deep pot over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and 2 tablespoons of the oil, then stir in the rice. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring a few times. Remove from the heat and immediately drain off any excess water in the pot. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mustard seed, which will begin to crackle and pop almost immediately. Add the urad dal and chana dal. Cook undisturbed for a minute or two, until the chana dal turns light brown.
Quickly stir in the cashew pieces, if using, the hing, curry leaves and turmeric, then remove from the heat, continuing to stir until the cashews are lightly browned and the curry leaves begin to dry and curl.
Pour over the cooked rice, taking care to evenly distribute the spices so the rice is colored yellow, then stir in the lemon juice and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Serve warm; or cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Source: Adapted from Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in the District.