Rice with Spice
Rice and Lentils with Crispy Onions (Mujaddara)
Mujaddara, the rice and beans of the Middle East, is a hearty one-dish vegetarian rice and lentil pilaf containing large brown or green lentils and crispy fried onion strings. For the pilaf, we found that precooking the lentils and soaking the rice in hot water before combining them ensured that both components cooked evenly. We pare down the typically fussy process of batch-frying onions in several cups of oil to a single batch of onions fried in just 1 1/2 cups of oil. The trick: removing a good bit of the onions’ water before frying by tossing them with salt, microwaving them for 5 minutes, and drying them thoroughly.
Introducing Persian Rice
By Annie Petito
To Americans, rice is an everyday side dish made with minimal fuss. But in Iran, a rice pilaf known as chelow (pronounced CHEH-lo) is one of the most important dishes in the cuisine—and actually defines a cook’s reputation in the kitchen. What makes the dish so good is contrast: a marriage of unusually light and fluffy grains with a golden-brown, crispy crust that’s so buttery that you can’t help but go back for more. It’s a showpiece pilaf.