Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lentil, Rice, and Raisin Pilaf

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I am a dedicated carnivore. The last time I talked about my meat-eating ways, it was in relation to dim sum, but anything goes, really. I'm a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I love ribs in barbecue sauce, peppercorn steak, crepes with sausage and maple syrup, smoked meat sandwiches... for reasons that are beyond my comprehension, however, Davis has been on a 3-year long health kick, so while he enjoys his Jack Daniels ribs from Boston Pizza too, he requests vegetarian meals on at least a biweekly basis. This is one of the few recipes that I tolerate well, without resorting to pushing limp chunks of eggplant and tofu around my plate (actually, I really like eggplant. And tofu. But I do have difficulty with the palatability of most vegetarian dishes).

This recipe contains:
a smallish yellow onion
some olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
two cans of chicken broth, or one can of broth and one water if you're watching your salt intake
about a cup of long-grain rice (I've used basmati or jasmine)
a cup of small red lentils (they cook faster than the bigger green ones)
half a cup of raisins... or more... if you like raisins
plain yogurt
mint. fresh mint.

First, chop up your onion into fairly small pieces. I do this by cutting the onion into rounds, then cutting the rounds one way, then rotating it 90 degrees and going the other way.

The onions go into your wok (or deep frying pan, or shallow pot) with the olive oil. Turn the heat on to low and start cooking those onions.

Add your three cloves of garlic, crushed or diced. Earlier this summer I discovered the garlic press, and my life hasn't been the same since. I hate chopping garlic. It secretes this weird sticky stuff (anyone know what that is?) and my fingers reek of garlic for days, and yes I have tried lemon juice but my hands are usually so dry and cracked that I can't bear it. Anyway, the garlic press has saved me. Plus I just don't have the patience to chop up anything into itty bitty pieces like that.

Then add your spices.

Mix 'em all together and you'll get something that looks like this:

Cook the onions, garlic, and spices for a few minutes until the onions get soft. Next add your broth and/or water and mix it all up.

Next in is the lentils, rice, and raisins.

Stir it up, then increase the heat a little and let this simmer for 30 minutes or so, until all the liquid has absorbed and your lentils and rice are soft to your satisfaction. I know it's kind of gross looking. I know it looks like goop. Don't worry, we'll get to the presentation part.

You can serve this as a side dish to something tasty (something with meat) or make it a meal all on it's own. Chop up some cucumber and tomatoes and arrange them nicely around your mound of glop. Then plop a few spoonfuls of plain, unflavoured yogurt on top and sprinkle some chopped fresh mint over it. Looks a little nicer now? Dig in!


  1. Wow.. that looks yum :D Is it an Indian dish? With all that spices.. you are getting me hungry :)

  2. This does look good. I love my meat too, but sometimes, especially when the weather cools, I love lentils and other dried things. I probably would have to scratch the raisins or my daughter won't eat it (or will pick through it), but is sounds delicious and looks like it smells divine.

  3. I think it's... Lebanese? Not too sure. But it does smell good, I can tell you that! The original recipe actually didn't call for raisins, I added those because Davis is partial to them. :o)


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