All you need is:
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 250g green or brown lentils
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 200g Taj Classic basmati rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1½ tsp ground allspice
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and black pepper
- 350ml water
Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. When very hot, carefully add a third of the sliced onion. Fry for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion takes on a nice, golden-brown colour and turns crispy. Transfer the onion to a colander and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with two more batches of onion.
Meanwhile, put the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the lentils have softened but still have a little bite. Drain into a colander.
Wipe clean the saucepan in which you fried the onion and drop in the cumin and coriander seeds. Place over a medium heat and toast the seeds for a minute or two, until they release those distinctive aromas. Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. Stir to coat the rice with oil, then add the cooked lentils and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat, lift off the lid and cover the pan with a clean tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Finally, tip the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl. Add half the fried onion and stir gently with a fork. Pile up in a shallow serving bowl and top with the rest of the onion.