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Basmati rice with Lentils

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

This dish is so aromatic and packed with sweet and savory flavors. Also super healthy and meet all the requirements for a good meal with protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals.

Persian food is a staple in my house, I learned how to cook and enjoyed delicious Persian dishes because I used to own an Iranian Restaurant back in my hometown Venezuela. I was also married for many years with an Iranian.

The original recipe calls for the usual Basmati rice, Lentil, and ground beef. I substituted the beef for ground turkey. For the aromatic I used the excellent anti-inflammatory Turmeric, cinnamon and saffron.

Saffron as you know by now is one of the most expensive ingredients in the world. A pound could cost between $2,500 up to $5k . Nowadays you can find saffron in any Iranian specialty store for $7.25 for 1 gram. The best way to get the most out of it is by infusing the delicate saffron in hot water. I will recommend a white mortar to grind the threats with a pinch of either salt or sugar, then place the grind saffron in half a cup of warm water. Add the liquid gold to season any dishes, like paellas, Basmati rice or any dishes that calls for saffron. I usually place the liquid gold in the refrigerator and the saffron in the freezer.


Turmeric is one powerful ingredient because of all the healthy benefits. Excellent anti-inflammatory. Also has powerful antioxidant effects.

Basmati and Lentil-Adas Polo


2 cups rice

1/2 cup dried lentils

1 pound of ground turkey (can substitute for ground beef)

1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 1/2 cup of hot water

1 large onion, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves

1 cinnamon stick

Dash of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of turmeric


Pepper to taste

olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter


caramelized onions


  1. Place the lentils in a pot, add 2 1/2 cups of water, with a cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper, bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it cook for about 15 min or until tender, then drain and removed the cinnamon stick. Set aside.

  2. Rinse rice with cool water 3 to 4 time or until the water runs clean, soak in 3-4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of salt for at least 30 min.

  3. Saute slide onions in 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat until the onions begin to soften and caramelized, set aside some to use as a topping. Add the remain garlic, ground turkey and seasoned with, salt, pepper, cinnamon powder and remaining turmeric, cook until brown then add the raisins, saute lightly for a couple of minutes. Set aside

  4. In a large non-stick pan, bring 6 cups of water to a rapid boil with 2 tablespoon of salt. 

  5. Drain rice and pour into the boiling water. Bring water to back a boil for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Test to see if the rice is ready. Rice should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. Drain and rinse with cool water.

  6. Wash the pot and return to heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the pot. With a large spatula, place a layer of rice into the pot, place a layer of cooked lentils, and a layer of ground turkey, then another layer of rice. Spread the saffron water all over the rice.  

  7. Cover and cook for 25 minutes on medium-low heat until rice is steaming. Served with some caramelized onions.

Buen provecho and Enjoy!


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