Mujaddara Onigiri

1 1/2 Cups Sushi Rice

2 Cups Water

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 Pounds Onions, Chopped (About 4 Cups Chopped)

3/4 - 1 Teaspoon Salt, Divided

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

2 Cups Cooked Brown Lentils

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat on the stove. Once at a lively bubble, stir in the sushi rice and immediately reduce the heat all the way to low. Cover and let cook gently for 15 - 20 minutes, until the water has been fully absorbed. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet with high sides over moderate heat. When hot and shimmering, add the onions and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. When they begin to brown around the edges, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and reduce the heat further. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring every now and then, for about an additional 30 minutes to caramelize the onions. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly to prevent pieces from sticking and burning. The onions should take on a deep amber brown color at this point, and a be very aromatic. Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the balsamic vinegar and all the spices, and let cool.

When both the rice and onions are cool enough to handle, just above room temperature, mix both together in a large bowl along with the parsley and lentils. Stir well to thoroughly distribute all of the ingredients. Add remaining 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of salt, to taste.

Scoop out approximately 1/3 - 1/2 cup of the mixture for each onigiri, gently pressing it into triangles in the palms of your hands. If the rice isn't quite holding together properly, let it sit and continue to cool for a bit longer. Serve immediately, or wrap each individually in plastic to save for later. When properly stored in the fridge, the prepared onigiri can be reserved for up to three days.

Makes 1 1/2 - 2 Dozen Onigiri

©Hannah Kaminsky