I like rice pilaf a lot. And I like making different types of it, mixing with a variety of ingredients, such as different kinds of spices and lentils like this recipe.
Many years ago, after 1999 earthquake in Turkey and my parents moved to Sinop from Istanbul for safety, I moved back to Istanbul at some point and stayed with one of my brothers and his family for a year. My sister-in-law’s mother who lived upstairs (and she still does) used to cook rice pilaf with lentils and that was the first time I tasted this combo. I loved that dish (and she cooks really tasty dishes always anyway).
I forgot this combo for many years after that year. Then I suddenly remembered it a few weeks ago and planned to make my own version of it.
My version is quite different than hers to be honest. First of all, I use a lot more spices. Second, I use pre-cooked lentils because I am lazy to cook the lentils myself (ooops!). Third, I don’t exactly remember if she also used onion. Anyway, my version tastes delicious as well!
So yes, there are many spices in this recipe. But don’t you also think that life would be very dull if we didn’t have any spices? Well, I hope you give it a try!
3 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, diced
2.5 dl (or 1 cup) long white rice, soaked in boiled water for about 1 hour, then drained
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp granulated white sugar
2.5 dl (or 1 cup) water in room temperature (plus, 1/2 dl or about 4 tbsp more for a bit later)
3 packs cooked green lentils, drained (net weight I used: 690 gr.)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. In a large and shallow pan, put olive oil on medium high heat. Put onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until they get translucent.
2. Add drained rice and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes.
3. Add spices and sugar (in the list above, starting with cumin and ending with sugar) and stir a little until all the rice is covered with spice mixture.
4. Add 2.5 dl / 1 cup water, stir to cover all the rice and cover the pan with its lid. I left the cover ajar. Lower the heat to medium and cook until all water is absorbed (about 10-12 minutes).
5. When the water is absorbed, add cooked lentils, salt and pepper. Mix them well. Add about 1/2 dl / about 4 tbsp more water in room temperature and cover with the lid of the pan again, leaving it ajar. Cook again until all water is absorbed. When it’s done, turn off the heat, cover the pan full and leave it to rest for 5-8 minutes before serving. Enjoy!