Lately, I’ve been having major cravings for anything cinnamon. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. I often get really strong cravings like that. Funny thing is, for years, I didn’t really care for cinnamon at all. I would barely even add any to apple desserts that I would make, and god only knows that apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven, especially in desserts! For some strange reason, it seems I now want to add cinnamon to just about anything. I find myself sprinkling the stuff on my cottage cheese, which I eat every day with various fruits… also sprinkled with cinnamon.
I wasn’t really surprised when this idea for a lentil and dried fruits, cinnamon flavored rice suddenly popped in my head. Having never really cooked with those kinds of flavours before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Plus, making this kind of a dish for one added to the complexity. I needed to find a way to make it simple, so I decided to just throw everything in the same pot and cook it like I would rice alone.
Well… I think it was a success. Although it took way longer to cook than I had initially expected, and also required twice as much water, the final result was extremely satisfying. The rice still had a little crunch to it, the lentils weren’t mushy (I was afraid this might happen), the dried fruits were still very much present with a lovely soft texture. I think adding the almonds at the end was a good decision for it added a little extra crunch and nuttiness that worked well with the dish. As for the cinnamon flavor, it was just right, if you ask me. Here’s another recipe to which I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe, sprinkle a little bit more coconut next time.
(serves 1 very hungry person)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp four spice
- salt & pepper to taste
- ¼ cups du Puy lentils
- ½ cup brown Basmati rice
- 4 tbsp Sultana raisins
- 5 dried apricots, chopped
- 2½ cups water
- 8 toasted almonds, crushed
- 1 tbsp grated unsweetened coconut
- Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat; add onion, celery and garlic, salt and pepper, stir until golden. Add spices, lentils and rice. Stir to coat evenly and add water.
- Bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and all water has been absorbed (add more if necessary). Turn off heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.
- Serve and sprinkle toasted almonds and coconut.