Nigella Lawson Caramelized Onion & Lentil Pilaf

Total Time
Prep 0 mins
Cook 40 mins

Came across this recipe on in an article written by the Kitchen Goddess herself: Nigella Lawson. Haven't tried it yet, but I thought I'd share this. I'm drooling over the thought of it! :) I did omit the ghee to make it healthier.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat over medium heat.
  2. Add onion slices, and sauté until softened and deep golden brown.
  3. Remove half the onions and set aside.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add turmeric, cumin, coriander, cloves, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  5. Add salt, and season with black pepper to taste.
  6. Combine lentils and rice in a fine-meshed sieve, and rinse well with cold water.
  7. Drain, then add to pan.
  8. Add 4 cups water, raise heat, and bring to a boil.
  9. Cover, reduce heat to very low, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Water should be completely absorbed; if not, remove pan from heat, remove lid and cover pan with a kitchen towel, then replace lid and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  11. To serve, fluff pilaf with a fork, and transfer to a serving bowl.
  12. Garnish with reserved onions.


Most Helpful

This was ok but not amazing. I think my main problem was the mustard seeds, which I would eliminate in the future. Also, be sure to follow her instructions and reserve some of the onions. I might even reserve all of them, because the cooked ones loose a lot of their flavor.

Samsara January 06, 2007

This was delicious but it does need either Ghee (in original recipe) or oil to caramelise the oinions in and then to turn the rice in before cooking.

lindseylcw October 19, 2006

We ate this tonight with Black Pepper Chicken Curry by Sackville Girl recipe #59446. It was a fantastic change from the steamed rice we normally eat with our curries, and more a dish in its own right! I did add a tablespoon of oil to caremelize the onion as I couldn't see how it would work otherwise when the onion needed to cook for about 30 minutes. I also threw in a garlic clove that was sitting on the counter and used the French puy lentils as suggested. They retained a nice texture that contrasted well with the rice. Lots of good flavour for such a simple recipe and one I want to make again soon. I'm also looking forward to the leftovers!

JustJanS October 10, 2003

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