Rice is a staple food in our home, like many others, and this Middle Eastern Clove and Cardamon Scented Rice recipe is a delicious way to serve it. This rice dish uses caramelised red onions, green lentils & griddled halloumi and is suitable for all the family.

Middle Eastern Clove and Cardamon Scented Rice recipe with Caramelized Red Onions, Green Lentils & Griddled Halloumi


  • 250 g Amira Superior Aromatic rice
  • 250 g flat green lentils
  • 3 large red onions, (about 750 g before peeling) finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamon pods, bruised open with the flat of a knife
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 450 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 packs halloumi cheese, cut into 1cm slices
  • A little olive oil for brushing
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 small bunch shallots, finely chopped
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


1. Rinse the Amira rice well under cold running water and tip into a bowl. Cover with cold water and set aside to soak for 30 minutes

2. Tip the lentils into a small saucepan and cover well with cold water. Bring up to the boil and simmer rapidly for 10-12 minutes until they are just tender but with plenty of bite. Drain and set aside.

3. Add the oil and butter to a large deep frying pan and set over a low heat, stirring through the onions, cloves, cardamon pods, cinnamon and chilli flakes. Fry very gently, stirring well to coat the onions, for around 30 minutes until meltingly soft and lightly caramelized. Stir through the garlic and for just a minute. Drain the rice well and add to the pan along with the onions, stirring well to coat the onions. Add the cooked lentils and pour in the stock, season with a little salt and pepper and bring up to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover tightly with a lid or snug fitting sheet of foil and simmer gently for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to rest, covered and undisturbed, for a further 10 minutes.

4. Whilst the rice is resting, heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Brush the halloumi lightly with olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes on both sides until crisp, then chop roughly into bite sized pieces.

5. Remove the lid from the rice and fork through to fluff up and separate the grains. Taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper to taste. Tip into a serving dish, scatter over the halloumi and sprinkle on the sliced chilli and coriander

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Recipe and image credit: Amira Rice