Rice and lentils make such a perfect pair. It’s become my go-to comfort food because it’s easy, nutritious and deeply satisfying.
We make it at home all the time, variations of it… not really based on a specific recipe, but using the mejadra recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook as a general guide.
When we have the time and desire, we make the fried onions just like in the cookbook, piling it atop the rice and lentils, sweet and caramelized, giving it rich flavourful depth.
We even make rice and lentils when we aren’t home; we made this quick and dirty version a few months back while on vacation, it’s so fast and simple we’ve incorporated it into our dinner routine for those rushed weeknights.
The recipe came together in a rather cosy way though; we’d spent the day exploring the city and decided we wanted to make something quick, nourishing and homely for lunch.
We picked the lentils, rice, onions and the other ingredients needed for lunch from the market.
We even picked up a lovely bouquet of flowers from the kind fleuriste by our apartment for €5, we just couldn’t resist!
In this fast and easy version, the rice and lentils are cooked separately and tossed with sautéed onions in a stir-fry fashion. At home, sometimes we cook the rice and lentils over the weekend, keep them in the fridge for use throughout the week, it’s very convenient.
We switch up the seasoning too, we use herbs occasionally; fresh green cilantro, parsley or mint enlivens the dish beautifully. The spices used here are warm and rich, and enhances the deep savoury flavours in the dish.
We’ve made this variation of rice and lentils a few times since we’ve been back, and it takes me back every time to that charming little apartment overlooking the rooftops of the Marais.
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- 1 cup basmati brown rice, rinsed
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 - 1/4 teaspoon salt (use less or omit if using salty broth)
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine rice with broth and salt in your rice cooker and cook per machine’s instructions or cook on stovetop per package instructions or use this guide
- Keep warm when done
- Rinse lentils thoroughly, add to a saucepan with garlic and enough water to cover the lentils by 2 inches
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes until lentils are tender but firm (Add more water if needed to ensure lentils are completely submerged in water while they cook)
- Add salt, reduce heat and let lentils cook for an additional 3 minutes
- Remove from heat, discard garlic and set aside
- In a large skillet or saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium heat
- When oil is hot, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 -3 minutes until onions are softened and start to brown
- Add cumin, allspice, coriander and pepper flakes stir, and cook for about 2 minutes until spices become fragrant
- Meanwhile drain lentils, toss in with the rice and cook for 3 -5 minutes, stir gently occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn
- Check seasoning and add salt to taste
- Lower heat, and let rice and lentils cook for another 2 -3 minutes for flavours to meld
- Serve with lots of freshly ground black pepper