One of my favorite parts of my friend Molly’s blog is when she lays out her attempt at some unusual, creative meal that I without fail want to try my own hand at. So I’m going to blatantly copy the idea and devote a post to the first real (non-super easy pasta) meal I’ve made in this apartment: Adas Polo, or in English, lentils with rice.
There aren’t that many Persian dishes that are vegetarian-friendly, so when I find one I latch onto it. This one’s super easy (compared to other Persian dishes) and pretty healthy, and makes liberal use of one of my favorite ingredients. I think it turned out pretty well, especially for my first try, but next time I plan to have cinnamon and raisins on hand, which is how you’re actually supposed to do it.
I inadvertently made a huge amount of food with about three cups of rice and two cups of lentils, so you may want to dial down the measurements. Wash the rice, pouring water over it in a bowl and emptying it about three or four times to get rid of starch and impurities. Leave the rice sitting in the bowl submerged in water, and pour salt liberally–it’s hard for me to estimate how much, but basically I pour salt from one of those cylindrical containers with a spout for about seven seconds. It’s really important to have enough salt, because there’s nothing worse in a rice-based dish than undersalted rice. Leave the rice aside for about thirty minutes. In this time wash the lentils, put them in a pot with water and boil for about fifteen minutes. Drain the lentils, saving the water, which should be a murky red. It’ll later go into the lentil and rice mixture and give some flavor. Put the lentils aside and cook the rice. It should be light and fluffy. Once it’s done, mix in the lentils really well and pour in the lentil-water, and cook that with the lid on for about fifteen minutes. While that’s cooking, fry an onion or two with two cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon each of cumin and turmeric and maybe a teaspoon of pepper (I put a tablespoon this time and it was way too peppery). Cook until the onions are translucent. If you have cinnamon and raisins, they should go into the onion mixture as well. The lentil rice should be ready by now. Pour the onion mixture onto the rice, and serve, with yogurt preferably. I have a giant pot full of this stuff in my fridge now, so if you’re in the area come eat!