Versatile dish fits the bill for being both light and hearty
Rice and rice-based dishes are the staple diet for most people in the Middle East, without which no iftar at the end of a long day of Ramadan fasting would be complete.
But often there are only a few hours between iftar in the evening and the pre-dawn suhoor meal the following day. What fits the bill of being both light and hearty to fill that gap?
Enter timman bil jizar, a delicious dish which ticks lots of boxes for us during Ramadan (“timman” is the Iraqi word for “rice”- and in our opinion, the right word – while “jizar” means carrots).
Timman bil jizar is tasty, quick to make and smells amazing, with a versatility that makes it popular in our household. It can be enjoyed on its own, with a fresh salad, with plain yoghurt, even converted into a vegetarian dish by substituting the mince for mushrooms or vegetarian mince.
Preparation: 35-40 min
450g (1lb) rice
2 medium onions, chopped
250g (9oz or approx 4) carrots, cubed
375g (13oz) minced beef or minced lamb
mixed spices (whatever you want to flavour the mince – we use 1 tsp curry powder and ½ tsp garam masala)
1tbsp cinnamon (essential!)
salt and black pepper
1. Measure out the rice and soak it in cold water for 20 minutes (while you wait, prepare the rest of the recipe).
2. Chop the onions and carrots.
3. Add the oil to a medium-sized pot and heat.
4. Add the onions and saute until golden. Then add the carrots.
5. Add the mince to the onion-carrot mixture and cook the mix until it is lightly browned.
6. Add the mixed spices, cinnamon, salt and pepper (to taste).
7. Cook the mix until the meat is fully cooked
8. Wash the rice well and drain.
9. Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
10. Once the rice is cooked, add the carrot-onion-mince mixture to the rice.
11. Mix and cover well (if needed, place some aluminium foil under the lid to prevent the steam from escaping).
12. Set on a low heat to simmer for approx 10 mins.
13. Serve on its own, with salad or plain yoghurt.
Sura and Nuha are two sisters of Iraqi origin who want to create, showcase and champion the Middle Eastern food they grew up with. They started Babylon Bakehouse a London-based business where they plan to showcase their dishes and provide catering services. You can follow them at @babylonbakehouse on Instagram or www.babylonbakehouse.com