25 January 2015

Lebanese dirty rice

Adapted from the New Feast (p. 194-195) by Greg and Lucy Malouf

Some weeks ago I wrote a post about my newest vegetarian cookbook the New Feast by Greg and Lucy Malouf and now I cooked my first dish from it, the Lebanese dirty rice. It's a traditional Middle Eastern dish and I would love to hear from local people (or from people more experienced in this style of cuisine) how you usually make this dish. Please comment in the box below, if you have any experiences with such dishes. And obviously you can also comment, if you don't! The recipe was also published as an edited extract here. First I was very surprised by the lack of different spices, but when I ate the dish I realised that nothing else was needed. This was such a simple and beautiful dish and I think it will become a regular in my kitchen. The fried onions are just amazing!

I made some adjustments according to what was in my cupboard. I replaced the small black lentils with green lentils and the long-grain rice with brown rice. I also added one tablespoon of vegetable stock powder to the lentils when they were cooking. Otherwise I stuck more or less to the original recipe, but the below one is my version of it. I doubled up the ingredient amounts as well as I wanted to have a huge dish (feeds about 4 adults), but feel free to reduce the amounts if you prefer.

Ingredients for the rice

2 onions
4 tbsp olive oil
80 g green lentils
160 g brown rice
1,5 – 2 litres water
1 tsp ground cumin
Dried rose petals for the presentation

Ingredients for the fried onions

2 large onions
6 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp ground cumin
Vegetable oil for deep/shallow frying


Chop the onions for the rice finely and rinse the lentils. Start cooking the chopped onions in the olive oil until soft. Then add the lentils and about one litre water. More water will be added later. Let cook under lid for about 20 minutes until the lentils are almost done.

Then add the rice and little water if needed. Let cook for further 30 minutes. It can take longer with the brown rice. The goal is to cook both very soft so that the lentils stain the rice and make it dirty as described in the title.

In the meanwhile slice the onions for the topping into this strips and soak them for about 15 minutes in salt water. After that drain them well. For the coating mix the cornflour and ground cumin and roll the drained onions in there. Heat vegetable oil in a pan and deep fry the onions until they are crispy.
Serve the rice with the onions and rose petals on the top and enjoy! I found this pheomenal even cold the next day. What a great dish! I'm going to make this again next week, as it's also very cheap and I should always have the ingredients for it in the cupboard.

Have a good week everyone!

Your VegHog


  1. MMm the fried onions are calling my name. Its been a while since I've had fried onions, usually to top off a Indian style lentil curry. I will have to look out for this cookbook, first see if the library has it, if not flick through it at the bookshop and who knows may be tempted to get a copy.

    1. This was such a good dish and the onions really added a wonderful taste and texture.

  2. I'll be saving this recipe to try sometime; I really love the idea and it looks amazing. :)

    1. Yes it was so nice that I want to make it again tomorrow or Tuesday. :)

  3. This sounds similar to one I tried and mean to try again - I got it from http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2013/11/21/lentils-and-rice/ - and tasted great - if you had this all you need are some vegies with it and you have dinner

    1. Yes, that is similar, but no wonder as it's traditional Lebanese dish, so there will be many variations around. This is on my menu again tomorrow!


Thanks for reading! I would very much appreciate any comments or suggestions from you.