Mid-East Sidemid-east lentils and rice

Lentils with Rice
(Serves 8)

A scrumptious dish made with lentils and rice, topped with carmelized onions.

1 1/2 C brown lentils (cooked)
1 1/2 C rice (cooked)
6 T olive oil (divided)
4 large onions (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 T ground cumin (see sidebar)
1-2 tsp. ground turmeric (see sidebar)
salt & pepper to taste

Cook lentils and rice separately, according to package instructions. Drain and combine the two in one large saucepan with a 2 T oil. Stir in seasonings and keep warm over low heat.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and caramelize, stirring constantly for 20-30 minutes till brown (though not crispy or burned). Turn lentil-rice mixture out into a large serving bowl and top with the caramelized onions. Serve with yogurt.

| See more Mid-Eastern recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Many of the ingredients used for Middle-Eastern cooking may not be in your spice shelf, but you can find them at Mid-Eastern food stores. So to avoid frustration, make a list of the items you need before trying out the recipes.

Toss any old, even unopened, spice jars because they’ve probably lost their distinctive flavors. Put them on your shopping list.

Bulgur Wheat: wheat grains that have been par-boiled, dried, and de-branned. Bulgur has a high fiber content and wonderfully nutty flavor.

Cardamom: related to ginger. Pods (green, brown, or black) are the best way to store the spice, although high-quality ground is readily available. A equivalency: 10 pods = 1½ tsp. ground cardamom.

Coriander: aka cilantro, Chinese, or Mexican parsley. Fresh leaves and dried ground seeds are used in Mid-East, Asian, Indian, and Mexican cuisines.

Cumin: related to parsley and carrot plant; an important ingredient in chili powder. Used especially in curries, but also in Mid-Eastern, Mexican and Asian dishes. Cumom has an earthy, peppery flavor.

Deep Frying: oil must be hot enough; otherwise food will be soggy and greasy. Use a deep-fry thermometer to ensure proper temperature is reached. When cool, oil can be strained, refrigerated, and re-used.

Filo: aka phyllo; paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough. Purchase frozen in any grocery store and follow directions on package for thawing. When working with one sheet, keep others covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out.

Rosewater: distilled from rose petals and used to flavor Mid-Eastern and Asian cooking. You can make your own—but why? Purchase it at Asian or Middle Eastern food stores.

Semolina flour: made from hardy durum wheat. A yellowish flour, it's used in Asian and Mid-East cooking (couscous). In the U.S., it's Farina, a breakfast cereal.

Tahini: paste from ground, hulled sesame seeds. A major ingredient in hummus and other Mid-Eastern and Asian foods, you can purchase at most grocery stores.


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