This classic Iraqi dish is so simple yet so wonderfully satisfying. The name is simply translated as rice with green lentils. It’s a mixture of fluffy white rice with lots of crispy fried onions and soft lentils. Traditionally, it is served with lightly fried Dates which give the dish a salty and sweet taste.
Lentils can come in brown, green, yellow and red. They are low in calories, rich in iron, folate and an excellent source of protein. This dish uses the green lentils and a few basic ingredients that together make a hearty meal. Also, as an alternative, I use date molasses instead of dates as I prefer the smooth molasses taste. This dish is often served with lamb or chicken but it’s just as delicious without meat for a vegetarian option.
- 4 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 4 cups Basmati rice
- 2 cups Green lentils
- 4 large onions, finely diced.
- Date Molasses (optional)
- Wash the rice well and soak for 30 minutes. Washing the rice a few times helps it to be fluffy and less chance of it sticking together later.
- Wash and drain the lentils. Place in a pot and add 6 cups of water. Be sure to use a large enough pot as the lentils will double in size. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until they are tender.
- Finally chop the onions and fry until golden and crispy.
- In a bowl, mix the fried onions and cooked lentils and set aside. Add the salt, pepper and turmeric.
- Put a large pot of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start floating around. From that point, boil for 2 minutes but watching constantly as you don’t want the rice to overcook.
- Turn the heat right down and drain the rice in a colander. Add the rice back to the pot.
- Add the onions and lentils, gently mix in (be gentle with the rice). Cover the pot (use a clean tea towel to cover the lid, this soaks up excess moisture).
- Keep on a medium heat for 5 minutes and then on the lowest heat setting for 25 minutes.
Serve with roast lamb or chicken. Decorate with any vegetables you have to hand. Also, you could serve Greek yogurt with it. The creamy yogurt is lovely with this dish. Enjoy!