Middle Eastern Rice

Here is an easy, yet complex dish you can quickly put together on any weeknight. With ingredients you have in the pantry, this lovey and satisfying dish can have different interpretations according to what
you have in the fridge. In this case, I used grated carrots, but you can use several other vegetables; zucchini, fresh beans, green peas, etc… The addition of cinnamon gives it a Moroccan feel and of course,
cumin and coriander must be part of the ensemble. The dish reminds me of the ever so delicious Pastilla we enjoyed in Marrakesh a few years ago. Double the recipe and use the leftover for a cold salad the following day. Mixed with chopped cucumbers, green onions, tomatoes and red onion, chopped lettuce and you have a full meal salad.

INGREDIENTS
500 Gr. ground beef or ground lamb
1 Cup cooked green lentils
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Large onions sliced thinly
1 Large carrot finely grated
1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon ground Chilli
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Cups Basmati Rice
3 1/4 Cups Water

METHOD
Firstly, cook the lentils in a medium size pot. Using a cup of lentils, pour three cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until the lentils are firm to the tooth. No need to cook them through, as they will cook a little more with the rice. Drain and set aside.
You can also use canned lentils or canned chick peas as well.
In a medium-size pan with a lid, melt the butter and saute the onions until translucent. You can also cook them in vegetable oil until they are brown and crispy.
Add the meat and cook through and break into small pieces. Add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chilli, salt and pepper and mix well. Cook for a minute so the spices render their oil/flavour.
Add the basmati rice and water and mix well. Bring to a soft boil and place the lid on. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rice for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for about 10 minutes.
Using a fork, detach the rice delicately and pour over a serving dish.

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