This recipe was inspired by tahdig, a Persian rice dish with a golden crust and beautiful balance of textures. I wanted to develop a quicker, abbreviated version of the rice and add some new elements for more depth of flavor and freshness. The result includes lentils braised with golden raisins for a little sweetness and yogurt sauce with a hint of spice from horseradish. This crispy rice bowl is easy to assemble and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner – I especially love it in the morning with a poached or sunny side up egg on the top.

Crispy Rice Bowls With Pickled Red Onion and Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 red onion, julienned
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds

Yogurt Sauce

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 7 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill or 2 Tbsp. fresh dill and dill flowers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish


  • 6 Persian cucumbers, large dice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 cups beluga lentils
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 7 cups water

Preparation – Pickled Red Onions | Add onions to a Mason jar with a lid. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining ingredients until sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture over onions, and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Preparation – Yogurt Sauce | In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and set aside.

Preparation – Cucumbers | In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and set aside

Preparation – Rice | In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add cooked rice, dill, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes; set aside.

Preparation – Lentils | In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 40 minutes or till most liquid has evaporated.

Divide rice among 4 to 6 serving bowls, and top each with even portions of lentils, pickled red onion, yogurt sauce and cucumbers. Serve. 

Amanda Elliott is the chef at Peachtree Catering (peachtreebanquet.com) in Columbia, Missouri, and authors the website Rustic Supper (rusticsupper.com), where she shares recipes centered on the idea of the communal table and embracing the heritage of food through travel. She also hosts a series of pop-up dinners in Columbia called Sunday Suppers.