Today I am going to introduce one of the traditional Iranian rice dishes. First of all, I should mention, Rice plays an important role in Iranian cuisine. Rice or as we say in Farsi berenj برنج , is staple food and widely used through the whole country. When you Go to a Persian restaurant, you will be hardly able to order a meal without rice.
Rice or berenj is mostly produced in North of Iran in the rice fields (Shalezarشالیزار ) that are located near the Caspian Sea.
There are special shops which sell just rice. There are different types of rice in Iran such as, Domsiah دم سیاه (literally meaning black-tail, because it’s black at one end), ,another type of rice is, Doodi دودی (meaning smoked rice, I love smoked rice, if you know how much it is tasty, you would love it too).
A Rice dish might be plain, and served with stew or might be rice mixed with herbs or legumes.
Like lentil rice that I am going to introduce now. lentil rice is called Adash polow عدس پلو in Farsi. It is rice mixed with lentils. It can be served as a vegetarian meal with fried raisins, dates and caramelized onions or accompanied by cooked ground beef (qheema قیمه) .
It is an easy recipe as the ingredients are available all year round. It is not time-consuming to cook it and the result is very rewarding. You know the combination of lentils, raisins and dates, caramelizd onions, oh my God, creates such a mouthwatering dish.
Lentil or as we call it in Farsi (Adas عدس) is main ingredient for making lentils rice, a fragrant and hearty rice dish. You can make lentils rice with green/brown lentils.
In following recipe, rice is cooking with liquid leftover of cooked lentils. So, I recomend you to cook your lentils rice with this method next time, you will not regret. The lentils leftover liquid is very useful. You can transfer the lentils leftover liquid to an airtight container and keep it in the freezer for 2-3 months.It is an amazing stock for adding to soup, or to stew and rice.
Lentils Rice with Caramelized Raisins (Adas Polow)
- 3 cups rice
- 1 ½ cups lentils
- 2 large onions
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup pitted dates (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Coconut oil or vegetable oil
- Wash the rice with cold water. Soak in water with 1 tbsp of salt for an hour before cooking.
- Rinse the lentils with cold water and remove any dust. Place lentils in a large pot, because lentils after cooking will double in size. Use 3 cups of water for 1 cup of lentils, add some salt.
Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook lentils until are soft. Save the liquid left from cooking lentils.The important key in this lentils rice, is adding tasty liquid leftover of cooked lentils for cooking rice. This liquid give an earthy, savoury and delicious flavour to the rice.
- Cut one onion lengthwise and finely dice other one onion. Heat the oil in a pan. Add diced onion and saute in oil until tender and soft. Remove it from the pan.
- Heat some oil in the same pan. Add other chopped onion and fry until golden brown. Add raisins to the fried onion and while stirring, cook it for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Add raisins to the fried onion and while stirring, cook it for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Next, drain salted water of rice. Add the rice, leftover liquid of cooked lentil, fried finely diced onion, cooked lentils and oil to a pot. Season with salt.
- Bring the rice to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and let lentils rice cook and water completely evaporated ( it will take about 25-30 minutes).