Rice with Eggplant and Lentils

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3 cups of Persian rice
1 cup green lentils, thoroughly sorted and cleaned
1 large onion, chopped into small pieces
1 large eggplant
7 tablespoons corn oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Soak the lentils in boiling water to cover.

Put the rice into a pot and pour 3-3/4 cups water over it.

Cook until the water is absorbed to the level of the rice. Turn off the heat.

In the meantime, fry the onion in 3 Tablespoons of oil. Partly peel the eggplant; that is, pull off some strips of peel. Cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) cubes.

Add the eggplant to the onion, then add 1 Tablespoon of sugar, 4 Tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper. Fry until the eggplant turns golden.

Drain the lentils and mix with the eggplant, onion and rice, but be sure to do so gently. Do not worry if you end up with a bit of an island of eggplant and lentils. Be sure to add any oil left from frying.

Transfer to a large, relatively flat saucepan with a lid. Cook for another 1-1/4 hours on the lowest flame you have, and you've got yourself a meal.

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