Rice with Yellow Split Peas and Currant Raisins

  • To make the rice:
    3 cups basmati rice, checked and rinsed
    8 cups water
    2 tablespoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon turmeric
    1/2 cup canola oil
  • To make rice topping:
    1 onion, caramelized
    1 tablespoon oil
    1 cup currant raisins
    1/2 cup yellow split peas
    1 cup water
  • To steam and make tadig:
    canola oil
    2 tablespoons water
    1/8 teaspoon turmeric and/or saffron powder
    3 potatoes or one onion, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • Optional topping: carmelized onions

To make the rice and the topping

1. Fill a 6-quart nonstick saucepan with 8 cups water; add oil, salt, and turmeric. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat.

2. Meanwhile, make the topping: In a small skillet, sauté the raisins in 1 tablespoon oil until they look shiny and plump (about 45 seconds.) Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, bring water and yellow split peas to a boil over high heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until peas are "al dente." Drain, remove from heat and set aside.

4. When the turmeric water boils, add rice and continue cooking, uncovered, over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.

5. After 3–5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop some grains from the water. Break one grain in half to make sure it is "al dente." Turn off heat and pour rice into the colander to drain; set aside.

6. Gently stir the raisins and tender split peas into the rice in the colander.

To steam and make tadig

1. Place the empty 6-quart saucepan back onto the stovetop over medium heat. Add 1/4-inch canola oil and 2 tablespoons water. Add turmeric and/or saffron powder. Stir together.

2. Add sliced potatoes or onions in a single layer. Add the drained rice and shape it into a pyramid. Cover the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes until rice begins to steam. Uncover and place 2 paper towels (one on top of the other) over the rice. The ends will extend outside the pot. Replace the lid tightly.

3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and tilt the lid until ready to serve.

4. Serve on a shallow platter, mounding the rice into a pyramid, and garnishing with tadig and caramelized onions, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

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