|500 g (1 lb) Basmati long grain rice
500 g (1 lb) meat or chicken
375 g (3/4 lb) lentils
250 g (.5 lb) pitted dates
125 g (1/4 lb) raisins
2 medium onions
1/3 cup oil
1/4 tsp ground saffron
salt and pepper
1. After washing the rice thoroughly, soak the
rice in salted lukewarm water to cover by 2 inches for 3 to 4 hours.
2. Trim the meat of all fat, cut into small pieces (2 inch cubes), wash and drain.
3. Slice one onion and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add the meat, salt and pepper and cook over low heat until the meat is well done, 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Cut the dates across into halves and remove pits. Soak the raisins in a little warm water for 25 minutes, strain and dry.
5. Slice the second onion and fry in a little oil until it turns golden. Add raisins and dates and continue to fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add saffron and mix. Keep warm until the rice is ready.
6. Cook the lentils in a cup of water with a touch of salt. Strain and set aside to mix with the rice later.
7. In a large saucepan, bring 8 to 12 cups of water to a rapid boil.
8. Pour off excess water from rice and pour into boiling water. Bring back to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. The grains should be firm in the center and rather soft on the outside. strain the rice and rinse with lukewarm water. Toss gently in the strainer.
9.Bring 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tbs oil to rapid boil. Add layers of rice and lentil interchangeably building the rice and lentil layers up to a dome shape. The last layer should be rice.
10. Poke 5 or 6 holes through the rice to the bottom with the handle of a spoon. Close the lid. Keep on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until rice is steaming. Heat up 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbs oil and pour over the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean tablecloth and cover the pan firmly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
11. After removing from heat, place the saucepan in the sink and run cold water under it to cool down.
12. To dish up, gently toss the rice and sprinkle lightly in a dish in a symmetrical mound. Spread the mixture of dates and raisins evenly over the rice and complete the dish by spreading the meat on top.
13. Remove the crusty bottom and serve in a separate plate.