I bought Yotom Ottolenghi book ” Jerusalem” on preorder when it was released a few years ago. I have been a lover of his recipes and approach to Middle Eastern cuisine forever. They are complex yet simple, authentic with a fresh approach and have become a classic. This recipe has been dogear’ed’to make’ for a while now and I’ve been putting it off because it reads a lot like a milder version of biryani. But this week we decided to make it because I wanted a one pot meal and use up all these beautiful young onions I bought at the farmers market.
This recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi’s book. I changed a few ingredients and cooking techniques. I choose to sear and caremelize the onions and not deep fry. It works beautifully without the additional calories. The result is very simple dish with unexpectedly bold flavors. Serve it with tatziki like yogurt and a vegetable curr. The curry is not traditional but I felt it works nicely.
Serves 4 as a meal
- 1’cup about 200 grams pu Lentils or green Lentils soaked for 30 minutes in warm water
- 1 cup brown basmati rice or white rice if you prefer soaked for 30 minutes after rinsing
- 6-7 small to medium young onions halved, keeping the ends intact
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4’teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 ‘tespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4’teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
- zest of one lemon
- 11/2 cups of water or veggie broth
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Cut the onions in half, trim a bit so it can make astable base, but keep the ends intact.
- In a skillet warm half the oil. Place the onions cut side down and and let it sear for 3-4 minutes on medium heat till slightly carememlized. Now gently flip them over and do the same. When both side have caremelized remove them and set them on a plate.
- In the same pan heat the remaining oil. And heat the pan to a low. Add all the spices, lemon zest and stir fry for a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and lentils and gently fry so the spice coated the rice n Lentils.
- Add the water and broth, bring it to a boil and drop the heat to a gentle simmer. Let the rice cook for 10-12 minutes. This will depend on the age of rice, so use your normal cooking times.
- Place the onions on top of the rice and let it finish cooking in the redidual heat.
- Serve with tatziki or plain yogurt. This also goes very well with a vegetable curry.