This dish is ideal for dining alfresco during the holidays


(Serves 4–6)


500g small calamari tubes, cleaned

10–15ml harissa paste, or to taste

30ml lemon juice

30ml olive oil

salt and milled black pepper


30ml olive oil

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 carrot, peeled and grated

5ml ground cumin

300g basmati rice

3ml ground turmeric

1x 410g tin lentils, rinsed and drained

zest and juice of 1 lemon

30g butter

45ml fresh coriander, chopped

30ml fresh mint, chopped

salt and milled black pepper


fresh coriander and microgreens

pomegranate rubies (optional)

lemon wedges

tzatziki* (optional)


1. Mix all the calamari ingredients together in a non-metallic bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. To make the spiced rice, heat the olive oil in a pot and gently fry the onions and garlic for 3–5 minutes. Once softened, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the carrot and cumin and cook for another 5 minutes.

4. Place the rice and turmeric in a separate pot. Cover with cold water and cook until the rice is tender. Drain well.

5. Carefully fold the rice, lentils, lemon zest and juice, butter, coriander and mint through the onion mixture. Heat gently and season with salt and pepper.

6. To cook the calamari, preheat a griddle pan, large frying pan or braai and sear the calamari tubes for 1–2 minutes per side.

7. Remove and serve at once on top of the rice. Top with the fresh herbs and pomegranate rubies, if using. Serve with lemon wedges and tzatziki, if desired.

*COOK’S NOTE To make tzatziki: mix 125ml Greek-style yoghurt, 5ml honey, 5ml crushed garlic, 1 small Mediterranean cucumber, grated and drained, together. Stir in some chopped mint and season with salt and pepper.