Kitous says: “This delicious Lebanese village salad is made with rice, lentils and fried onions. I love anything with fried onions on top as it adds an extra layer of flavour. This recipe contains comparatively little rice, but I really like the subtle texture it provides. Folding in a diced tomato – pick one that’s really juicy and ripe – as well as chopped spring onions and mint at the end makes this taste very fresh, too.”
Green Lentil & Rice Salad (Moudardara)
Serves 6 – 8
2 tbsp oil, plus extra for frying
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g green lentils
1.2 litres hot water
50g basmati or long grain rice
½ tbsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
¼ aubergine, cut into cubes
1 tomato, diced
3 spring onions, chopped
¼ bunch of mint, finely chopped
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Sauté the onion and garlic over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and the hot water. Cover with a lid to bring to the boil then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the rice – the lentils should be three quarters cooked by this stage – and the cumin and salt.
Replace the lid on the pan and continue to cook on a low heat for 10–15 minutes. Keep testing the rice every 5 minutes or so, as you don’t want it to be overcooked.
Meanwhile, cook the crispy onions for the garnish. Pour enough sunflower oil into a medium saucepan to come about 5cm up the side and warm over a medium heat until a piece of onion sizzles
in the oil. Carefully lower half the onion slices into the oil and cook until golden. Spread out on kitchen paper to drain while you cook the remainder.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergine cubes until golden.
Fluff up the lentil and rice mixture with a fork – the liquid should all have been absorbed during cooking – and stir in the aubergine, tomatoes, chopped spring onions and mint.
To serve, top with the crispy onions.
Feasts from the Middle East is published by HQ and is now available to buy.