This brown lentil rice dish is another one of my favourite #Persian dishes that I always remember my mum cooking up as a last minute type of dish as it is quick and easy to make and you always seem to have rice and lentils lurking in the store cupboard right?
Here is what you will need and some options and varieties to play around with.
3 cups Basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear
1.5 cups brown lentils, rinsed and cooked with 3 cups of water & 4 bay leaves until cooked – approx 20 minutes
2 tsp coconut oil melted
- Cook the rice in 6 cups of water with 1/2 tsp salt on a high heat until boiling and rice is al-dente, approx. 10/15 minutes and rinse out into a sieve
- Cook the lentils and then rinse out into a sieve
- Taking a big pan, add the 1/2 tsp of coconut oil to the bottom and a pinch of saffron and a pinch of salt
- Start to layer the rice and lentils back into the pan, alternate layers
- Once the rice and lentils are in the pan add a sprinkling of sea salt and gently drizzle the rest of the coconut oil all around the top of the rice, along with another pinch of saffron
- Cover the rice and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes
LENTILS: Brown, green, yellow, red or black — lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. They pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors. They’re easily cooked in 5–20 minutes, which — like soaking — reduces their anti-nutrient content. They have 9g protein per 100g cooked lentils.
TOFU: If you would like additional protein and something more ‘meaty’ texture to enjoy with this dish, try our recipe for delicious Tofu Bites
SWEET TOPPING: In Persian cuisine we also like to mix up savoury and sweet, so another topping we enjoy with our lentil rice is a mix of dried raisins, berries & dates (the no-added sugar variety). Simply put 1/2 cup of the dried fruits and 8-12 pitted dates into a small pan with 1/4 cup just boiled water, 1 tsp coconut oil and a pinch of saffron and cook gently in the pan for 10-15 minutes until the fruits have softened. Once ready and you have served up the rice, top each plate with a tablespoon of these delicious fruits.
Benefits of dried fruit are that they generally contains a lot of fibre and are a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols). Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of many diseases