Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils

As you know I’m usually all about a super quick meal which can be whipped up in 30 minutes but sometimes I do like to spend a little more time and cook something using simple ingredients which need cooking slowly so that all the flavours intensify and deepen.
So this is the sort of lovely comforting meal I love to make on a cold autumn weekend afternoon, when all you want to do is be cosy in the house and you have more time to spend in the kitchen.
My middle eastern rice is easy to make but really benefits from long slow cooking so that all the flavours meld together beautifully.

My middle eastern rice is cooked in the same way as a risotto by adding more water when the rice and lentils get a little dry.
The final delicious addition (and I think what makes it) is lots of caramelised onions and a good squeeze of lemon. Something amazing happens to onions when you cook them on a really low heat for a long time, at least 30 minutes. That deep and rich caramelisation adds so much flavour to your dish and is really worth it if you have the time.

So I hope you like this one…Love, Niki xx

Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils

Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils



  2-4 servings
  10 minutes preparation time
  1 hr 30 mins cook time


  • 1 onion diced

  • 2 tbsp rapessed oil

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • 1 cup red lentils

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • Twist black pepper

  • For the onions; 
  • 1 onion cut into thin rings

  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Extra water – up to 4 cups
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Sea salt
  • Twist black pepper
  • Handful toasted pine nuts


  1. Add your diced onion and oil to a frying pan and fry very gently for 30 minutes until they are darkish brown and caramelised.
  2. Turn up the heat a little and then add in the cumin, cayanne and cinnamon and toast for a minute or so.
  3. Add in the rice and stir for a few minutes to toast slightly, the add the lentils, 4 cups of water and salt to your pan.
  4. Bring up to a boil then reduced to a simmer for 60 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop it sticking.
  5. Add in up to 4 extra cups for water when it’s looking dry.
  6. Finally season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Top with caramelised onions and toasted pine nuts.

To the caramelised onions;

  1. Add the onions and oil to a small saucepan and fry on medium heat for 15 minutes into brown and crispy.

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