Spice, rice and lentils

This recipe is based on a Lebanese mujadara (rice, lentils and caramelized onion) recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/) but I have changed the recipe to add more flavour and spices. It is a highly adaptable recipe that can be made to taste and whatever you have available in your cupboard. It requires little effort, is economical and great for meat-free Monday! Leftovers also make great lunch the next day.

This recipe gives 4 main portions

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup lentils, cooked according to instruction

1 brown onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed/finely chopped

1 cup rice (I used brown rice, but any type should do)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon good quality paprika

1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

4-6 leaves mint, finely chopped (optional)

1 cup frozen peas

1-3 chillies, finely chopped (optional)

4-5 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan over moderate heat and sauté onions until softened. Add garlic, fry for another minute or two, then add the cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric. Fry for another minute, then add rice. Fry for another 2 minutes, then add 2 cups of water. Turn down the heat, do not cover, and let simmer for approximately 40-45 minutes, adding water throughout (every 15 minutes on my stove) to prevent it cooking dry. Simmer until rice is cooked.  I added my peas, lentils, chilli and mint at 35 minutes whilst there was still fluid in the pan left and simmered it until dry (keep an eye during this last stage to prevent it from burning!). Serve hot with a fresh green salad and garnish with fresh parsley. The water can be replaced with stock if so preferred.