Lentils with Rice (Aeesh Al Dal)

Serving size:
 4 Servings


    • 4 T
    • butter (or ghee)
    • 1 c
    • basmati rice (rinsed)
    • 2 3⁄4 c
    • water (simmering)
    • 1⁄2 t
    • cumin (ground)
    • 1⁄2 t
    • ginger (ground)
    • 1⁄8 t
    • cardamom (ground)
    • 1 t
    • cayenne pepper
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
    • 4 T
    • olive oil
    • 2
    • onions (sliced)
    • 1⁄2 t
    • cinnamon (ground)
    • 4 T
    • plain yogurt
    • 1⁄2 c
    • lentils
1 hour
Ready in
1 hour


A traditional favorite from then Middle East.

Recipe adapted from Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa ©2000 by Habeeb Salloum


Over medium heat, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepot. Add the rice and stir to coat well. Add the lentils, water and spices through the salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 35 minutes. Check to be sure lentils are tender, then turn off heat and let steam, covered for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the sliced onions and cook slowly until they are soft and golden. This will take 20-30 minutes; be sure not to let them burn. Turn the lentil-rice mixture onto a serving platter and spread the onions evenly over the top. Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over all. Pass the yogurt to drizzle over and stir in as desired.


Use green or brown lentils for this dish. If brown basmati rice is used the cooking time may need to be extended a bit.


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