Iraqi Rice & Lentil Pilaf with fried onions
Preparation Time – 20mins
Cooking Time – 35-40mins
4 medium cloves garlic, grated
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ¾ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups water
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup regular brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
1/3 Cup olive oil
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 Cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 Cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Plain whole-milk or Greek yogurt, for serving
Spicy sauce, for serving (optional): Zhoug or chili-garlic sauce
- In a large pot, add oil, combine the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add 5 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in the washed lentils and reduce the heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the basmati rice and let the mixture return to a simmer.
- Cover again, reduce the heat and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender & cooked, about 20-23 minutes.
- Fry the sliced onion in olive oil until golden and crisp. Drain excess oil and keep aside. Sprinkle salt.
- Rest the cooked rice and lentil for 10mins before opening the pot.
- Add about half of the green onions and parsley, reserving the rest for garnish. Gently stir and fluff the rice with a fork. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, as required.
- Top with the caramelized onions and the remaining green onions and parsley. Serve hot with yogurt and spicy sauce (optional) on the side.