We love rice. More than just a starchy side to have with chilli or stir fry, there are so many things you can do with it – paella, risotto, biryani, sushi, puddings and tarts….. So when my dear friend Sawsan set us the task of making a new rice dish for this month’s Daring Cooks challenge, I was thrilled!
As a starting point, Sawsan provided up with two family recipes – mujadara and maklouba. Now, it turns out that mujadara has been on my to-do list forever. Rice, lentils, caramelised onions, all flavoured with lots of middle eastern spices – seriously, what’s not to love?! So that was that decision made. And it was spectacular, served with some freshly baked Turkish bread and a salad.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: about 90 minutes
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced lengthwise
60ml (4 Tbsp) olive oil
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
200g (1 cup) brown lentils
1 litre (4 cups) water
300g (1 1/2 cups) long grain rice
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve
In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil to shimmering, add onion and cook over very low heat until golden brown, 30 – 40 minutes. Using a fork or tongs, remove onions to a plate lined with paper towel, reserving the oil in the pan.
In the frying pan with the remaining oil from the onions, add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli flakes and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 2 – 3 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
In a large pot, place your lentils and add 4 cups of water.
Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to cook until the lentils are done, about 30 minutes. NOTE: Lentils, like all dried beans, vary in their cooking time depending on several factors, including age. Cook them according to the packet directions and adjust the time to suit.
Drain the lentils, reserving the water.
Place the lentils back into the pot, along with the rice, spiced oil and the salt. Add 2 cups of the water you cooked the lentils in (adding more fresh water if it is less than 2 cups).
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot until the rice absorbs all the water, about 15 minutes. Check every 5 minutes and add additional water as needed. Don’t let it dry out too much.
Fluff with a fork.
Serve topped with the caramelised onions and chopped parsley.
Daring Kitchen blog-checking lines: For the month of October, Sawsan from chef in disguise challenged us to prepare a rice based main meal that represents our own culture, or one from a cuisine that we would like to explore.