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Apparently this is the national dish of Egypt.  It is totally delicious.  This recipe came via the Bite site and is from an Auckland (NZ) restaurant called Altezano.   I haven’t been there but if they make food as good as this it is definitely on my visit list.

Both of us decided this is definitely on the ‘repeat’ list.  Mr MWCED even said that he thought he might have it as a ‘left-over’.   High praise indeed.

A few steps, so a bit longer than my usual recipes.  However definitely worth it.  And don’t sub the pistachios – they make it!

To save some time you could always make a double or triple batch of the tomato sauce ahead of time and then just heat up when required.   It is Very Good – and you’d easily find many other ways to use a big batch.




Lentils & Rice

50g                  Butter
2-1/2 cups       Water
1 cup               Green Lentils (I used puy lentils, already in the pantry)
2 cups              Chicken stock (or water)
1 cup                Basmati rice
1 tsp                 Sumac powder
1 tsp                 Nutmeg (I used ground) but grated would be better
1-1/2 tsp           Cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp           Salt
½ tsp                Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup               Olive oil
2                        Onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup                Pistachios, toasted
1 cup                Parsley, chopped
1 cup                Coriander, roughly chopped


Spicy Tomato Sauce

¼ cup                Olive oil
3                        Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3                        Red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
1 can                Crushed tomatoes, 400g
1-1/2 cups        Water
¼ cup               Cider vinegar
1 tsp                 Salt
1 tsp                 Ground cumin
1 tsp                 Ground paprika
¼ cup                Coriander, finely chopped

To Prepare Lentils:

In a sieve or small holed colander rinse lentils under cold running water to remove any dirt or stones.
Add the lentils and water to a medium saucepan.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add a pinch of salt towards the end to avoid tough skins.  When tender remove from heat. Drain and set aside.

To Prepare Tomato Sauce:

Place a saucepan over high heat. Add oil, chillies and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, water, vinegar, salt, cumin and paprika.  Bring to the boil and then lower heat and simmer for around 30 minutes or until thickened.  (I found it was more like 50 minutes).

To Prepare the Rice:

In a saucepan melt butter and then add rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the stock (or water), sumac, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil and then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 12 minutes then remove from heat.   (Next time I am going to make this in the rice cooker).

To Prepare the Onions:

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil to medium heat, add onions and cook until dark gold in colour.  This should take around 20 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the rice, cooked lentils, toasted pistachios, parsley, coriander and 2/3 of the cooked onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pile high on a platter and serve with the tomato sauce.

I added some grated carrot to the mixture and heated for a few minutes to warm through, then toppings with a smidgeon more grated carrot.    For more veggie content I might add some chopped spinach next time.    As with many national dishes I am sure there are multiple variations  –  it certainly is a dish that can be adapted to whatever you might have in the cupboard.     We ate this as a main,  but it could easily be a side dish if you are feeding more people.