I think this version is originally by Linda Dangoor, shared with me from a book of Iraqi Jewish recipes, that is sadly out of print.
- 400ml basmati rice
- 150ml red lentils
- 450ml water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- Sauté the onions in the oil until softened
- Add the garlic, spices, tomato and salt
- Add the rice and lentils and mix to ensure every grain is coated in the oil and spices
- Add the water and bring to the boil
- Once the water looks absorbed into the rice, cover, turn onto the lowest heat and cook for 20-25 minutes. Try to resist opening the lid, unless absolutely necessary, as the stream helps the rice to cook.
- Rest for 10 minutes with the lid on before serving.
This tastes good served with a little natural yoghurt, fried onions, grilled halloumi, or I quite like it with some toasted almond slivers or pine nuts. Adding a fried egg on top is also very traditional.
A tip to get the rice nice and fluffy is to soak for 30 minutes beforehand, and to properly wash it. I wash the rice in a large bowl by filling with water, swishing (very technical!) and pouring out the cloudy water. I repeat 8-10 times, until the water goes clear. Substituting about a quarter of the white rice for brown basmati is also nice and would give a more al dente texture. Finally, cooking rice in this way will result in a crust of rice at the bottom of the pan that might be a little bit - to use a Scottish term - 'well fired'. That's equally traditional, as anyone from this region will testify - some people I know might even call that the best bit!
I hope you like it, and do let me know if you give this a try.