Persian Lentil Rice

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I find most Persian food to be mild. I was always under the impression that Middle Eastern food was more on the spicy side. But I’m now learning that Persian cuisine is in its own category. I only discovered this at a wedding I attended years ago. I admit that my knowledge for Persian cuisine is very limited. But I do know that ingredients and flavors can define a dish’s ethnicity. Among other things, lentils and Jasmine rice are used in a lot of Persian dishes and I tried to replicate this dish to my best ability. Originally, I intended to use golden raisins and toasted cashew nuts for this side dish.But since a certain  family member has expressed his aversion to raisins  numerous times (having a nut allergy doesn’t help matters either), I had to omit these ingredients. Otherwise I would use them thinking that they would enhance the flavors. I also noticed that dates are also used in a lot of Persian rice dishes. I am hesitant to use dates as they are often infested, especially where I live. This vegetarian dish is flexible and can be personalized to your cooking style.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 cup of Jasmine or Persian rice
  2. 1 cup of green lentils
  3. 1 onion chopped
  4. 1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
  5. 1/2 cup of toasted cashew nuts (optional)
  6. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  8. 1 teaspoon of paprika
  9. 1 teaspoons of cardamom
  10. 1 teaspoon of oregano
  11. Salt and pepper for taste
  12. Parsley leaves for garnish


Drizzle olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent.  Add rice and stir in some,cinnamon, turmeric,paprika, cardamon and oregano.Saute for 3 minutes. Add lentils, cashew nuts, raisins, and 4 cups of  water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lowe the flame and let it cook for 30 minutes or until water has been completely absorbed.  Remove pot from flame and let it sit for another 1o minutes covered.  Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with  parsley leaves.

Yields 4-6 servings


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