About this recipe:This super-hearty dish takes a little while to make, but the results are really worth it. Rice and lentils are layered in a deep pot and simmered until tender. It's served with dates, raisins and fried onions.
450g uncooked white rice
950ml water or as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
475ml water or more as needed
salt to taste
385g dry lentils, rinsed
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
75ml hot water
110g pitted, chopped dates
oil as needed
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Place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Soak the rice for about 3 hours and drain off the water. Bring the rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 950ml water to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain the liquid from the rice and set aside.
Bring 475ml of water and 1 pinch of salt to the boil in a saucepan and stir in the lentils. Bring to the boil and cook over medium heat until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the onions, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside. Dissolve the saffron in 75ml hot water and set aside.
In a large non-stick pot with deep sides, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering and spoon in half the rice to cover the bottom of the pot. Top the rice with the lentils and cover the lentils with the remaining rice. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the rice is completely tender and there is a golden brown, crusty layer of rice on the bottom of the pot, about 20 minutes. Pour the saffron water over the rice and lentils, cover and allow to cook until absorbed, about 10 more minutes.
To serve, spoon into a serving dish and peel off and place pieces of the crusty rice layer on top. Garnish with dates, raisins and fried onions.