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This Levantine dish can be served as a side with fish or on its own. The masses of crisp onion give it an earthy sweetness.

You'll need

185 ml (¾ cup) olive oil 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped 6 onions, thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp ras el hanout (see note) 400 gm (2 cups) long-grain rice 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock 200 gm (1 cup) green lentils To serve: natural yoghurt (optional)   Cucumber and parsley salad 4 Lebanese cucumbers, diced Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 3 cups coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Heat 125ml olive oil and half the butter in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add half the onion and stir occasionally until crisp and dark golden (15-25 minutes). Remove onion with a slotted spoon, repeat with remaining oil, butter and onions, then drain onion (reserve oil mixture) and set aside.
  • 02
  • Return oil mixture to pan, add garlic and spices and cook until fragrant (10-20 seconds), then add rice. Stir, add chicken stock, bring to the simmer, cover and bake until rice is just cooked (15-20 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for cucumber and parsley salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and refrigerate until required.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, cook lentils in boiling water until tender (10-15 minutes), drain and set aside. Stir lentils through rice during last 5 minutes of cooking and serve hot, topped with crisp onion, with cucumber and parsley salad and yoghurt.

Note Ras el hanout is a blend of many different spices, among them cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and rose, and is available from select delicatessens and online from

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Spicy grenache.

Featured in

Aug 2010

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