There’s a local Persian restaurant we like to frequent. They make delicious gluten-free falafel, among other things. Of course, each dish comes with rice. You can get the standard saffron rice, or dill rice with lima beans (my personal favorite), or this lentil and raisin rice, which is Mike’s favorite. He’s been bugging me to try to make it.
- 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
- 3/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup warm water
- pinch of saffron threads
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the rice in a medium-sized pot. Cover with a couple inches of cold water. Add a couple pinches of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain.
- At the same time, place the lentils in a small to medium-sized pot. Cover with a couple inches of water. Add a couple pinches of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain.
- After you’ve drained the rice and lentils, add the saffron to the 1/4 cup of warm water and let stand.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil. Once hot, add the onions and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the lentils, raisins, cinnamon, tumeric, cumin, and pinch of salt and a little black pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring well, until everything is evenly mixed.
- Put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Set over low heat. Add a layer of rice, followed by a layer of lentils. Continue layering rice and lentils. Pour the saffron water over the mixture. Cover, and let steam for 30 minutes. Serve.
As I said, we’ve had this as a side dish. Perhaps you’d like to try it with some falafel? Of course, it could certainly be used as a main course as well.
Brown rice isn’t really traditional. You could try it with white basmati. The cooking time will be shorter with white basmati, so start your lentils before the rice.