Lentil Rice

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Apples for Jam

Apples for Jam

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2010

  • About

My kids love a bowl of lentils with rice, so I make this in some form or another once or twice a week. Some nice bread and a ripe tomato salad makes it a complete, not-too-heavy meal. Although I think it would be nice, too, with a roast chicken or meat dish. I like this with some chilli oil and a few drops of lemon juice sprinkled over the top, and the children enjoy it with quite a few spoonfuls of thick natural yoghurt.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 250 g(9 oz/1⅓ cups) brown or green lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 220 g(7 oz) long-grain rice, rinsed well
  • 30 g(1 oz) butter
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley


Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over medium–low heat, stirring often, until it is golden and sticky looking. Add the garlic, cinnamon, paprika and coriander and stir until you can smell the garlic. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, put the lentils in a large pot, cover with 1 litre(35 fl oz/4 cups) of water and bring to the boil. Skim the surface and then simmer for 30 minutes, adding some salt halfway through.

Scrape the onion mixture into the lentil pot and add the rice, butter, half the parsley, 250 ml(9 fl oz/1 cup) of water and a dash more salt. Stir well and bring back to the boil. Cover, turn the heat as low as possible and cook for 15 minutes or so, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Remove from the heat and fluff up. Cover the top of the pot with a clean tea towel, put the lid back on and leave it for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining parsley and fluff it up again before serving.

I can still picture those ladies, round as Mr Plod and bursting out of their chequered uniforms, dishing up soupy plates of lentils and dribbling some vinegar over the top so that it sat like a still pool. They would be swinging their way in and out of those slatted kitchen doors as though they were barn dancing.