1 cup cooked brown basmati rice (any rice is fine, but I like brown basmati in any pilaf or salad because it doesn't get mushy unless you really overcook it, and I think brown rice just tastes better).
1 cup cooked and drained brown lentils
1 large yellow onion, in quarter inch slices
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper powder
1 tbsp. sumac
salt to taste
1. Because the cooking time on any kind of rice and just about any kind of lentil is a little different, I like to cook them separately until each is just tender. Cook rice and lentils and set aside.
2. While the lentils and rice are cooking, it's time to carmelize some onions in the canola oil. If you're impatient, fry them on high heat and keep stirring until they're nice and golden brown. I took my time, giving the onions a quick fry on high heat for the first few minutes, then letting them slowly cook over medium-low heat, 20 to 30 minutes, until they are meltingly soft. Season with a little salt as they cook.
3. I use a big cast iron frying pan for things like this, so when the onions are done remove them
and put the frying pan back on a medium-low flame. There should be enough leftover oil for the rice and lentils, but if not add a little more. Add cooked lentils and rice, and all of the spices except the sumac, and heat up, stirring frequently. If it seems a little dry, add a few tbsp. water, which will soak into the lentils and rice and help incorporate the dry spices.
4. That's it! Top the lentils and rice with the fried onions, and sprinkle with a liberal amount of sumac. If you can't find sumac, paprika and a squeeze of lemon juice or hot pepper sauce would be nice alternatives.