Mujaddara: Eating Lebanon

by Karen on Saturday, June 12, 2010

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There are so many variations on this ancient dish, depending on where in the Middle East you are or which home or restaurant you eat it in. I prefer a break from tradition here and opt for a drier rice dish where the lentils retain their shape. Mujaddara is also not typically eaten with yogurt, but I love the combination. You can eat it with anything you prefer, a wedge of lemon, slices of radishes, but I recommend with something bright and acidic.

– 1 cup of green or brown lentils
– 4 cups of water
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 3 large white onions, thinly sliced
– 1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
– salt
– 1 tsp of allspice
– 1/2 tsp of cumin

Bring the lentils and the water to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, heat a large skillet and cook the onions in the olive oil until they are soft and translucent. Remove 3/4 of the onions and keep the remainder in the skillet to brown into crispy caramelized onion pieces on a low heat.  To caramelize, add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil if necessary.  Remove them and let them drain over a paper towel.

Drain the lentils and reserve the liquid (the liquid should measure to 1 1/2 cups, if it doesn’t just add water to it).

Return the lentils, onion, rice and 1 1/2 cups of the lentil water to a pot. Add the allspice, cumin and salt to the mixture, gently stir the mixture and cook over a low heat covered until the rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook)

{ 3 comments }

Jeff August 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Wow, so easy to make. This must be one of their daily staples because I made this dish twice and the second time I just did it without going back to your recipe. Im definitely keeping a bag of lentils around because I can reliably come back to this dish when I’m craving something hearty but without meat.

Jeff August 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

One more thing, the rice can cook faster depending on heat so you should stay near or on alert. I think it’s because the basmati rice grain is smaller than the Asian rice grain. But that’s just my guess.

Karen August 3, 2010 at 11:31 pm

To be careful with your rice, when you cook it, leave it on a VERY low heat. Open the lid every so often just to check on it, fluff with a fork to see how the texture is coming along. Some people like it mushy, others drier, so its really up to you how far you want to cook it. If you’re feeling its too wet, just keep the heat on, fluff gently with a fork and leave the lid slightly open for the remainder of the steam. Glad you made this– it’s one of my favorites!!! Easy, hearty, and healthy!!

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