This unusual soup has Persian origins. It can be made with or without the meatballs.
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- ¾ cup lentils
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 8 cups water (2 quarts)
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup spring onions, chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate juice or ½ cup pomegranate syrup mixed with ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon raisins, sultanas or chopped dried apricots
- 450 g (1 lb) minced beef, shaped into meatballs (optional)
- Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Wash and drain the lentils after checking for stones etc.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan and fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened
- Add the meatballs, rice, lentils and pepper and stir fry for a minutes or two
- Add the salt and water and bring to the boil
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are cooked
- Add the pomegranate juice and simmer for another 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining tablespoons of butter and sautee the mint and raisins for a minute
- Add to the soup with the chopped spring onions and parsley
- Sprinkle with a few pomegranate seeds and serve
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