Soak rice for 15~20 minutes.
Cook the lentils until almost cooked through, they should hold their shape and should not be mushy at all. I pressure cooked the lentils for 3 whistles, but you can boil them in a pot with 2cups of water.
Once the lentils are par cooked, heat 3tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds and cracked pepper and cook for 30 seconds; add the sliced onions and cook on medium flame, stirring occasionally until the onions are caramelized and are deep brown in color.
Remove half of the onions into a bowl and set aside for garnish later.
To the remaining onions in the pot, add the drained rice along with ground cumin, cayenne and salt. Mix well and cook for 2~3 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and 2~3 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and cook covered until the rice is cooked through.
I pressure cooked everything for 2 whistles.
Serve the dish with the caramelized onions on top.