Mujadara is an Arabic word for “pockmarked” the lentils among the rice or bulghur resemble pockmarks.Cooked lentils are popular all over the Middle East and form the basis of many dishes. Mujadara is popular dish through the Arab world, and is generally made using brown or green lentils and rice. That is seasoned with Arabic spices and caramelized onion. When made with rice in Lebanon it is called (mudardara). You can also use bulghur with the lentils instead of the rice. What makes it so unique is the sweet mouth-watering flavours from the caramelized onion and the rich dark brown texture. Mujadara can be eaten hot or cold.
– 1 cup whole brown lentils sorted and rinsed
– 3 large onion diced
– ¼ cups of olive oil and a ¼ cup of extra virgin oil
– ½ cup of long grain white rice or dense brown bulghur wheat not the smooth ones.
– 2 large onion, cut into thin sliced for caramelized garnish
– ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
– ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
– 1 teaspoon of cumin powder (optional)
– Salt to taste
– Extra virgin oil, for drizzling
– 4 cups of water
In a small saucepan with 4 cups of water bring the rinsed lentils to boil on high heat and when started to boil reduce the heat and simmer until lentils are par-cooked, 15 to 20 mins. Do not overcook.
In a reasonably pot, combine the olive oil and extra virgin oil over medium heat, sauté the diced onions for 30 mins stirring frequently, until the onions are caramelized and about to burn.
Remove from heat and add the strained lentils water to the onions mixture. Return on to the stove and boil covered on high heat for 10 to 15 min so that the liquid takes the deep brown colour from the caramelized onions.
Add the rice or bulghur with the drain par-cooked lentils to the onion mixture with the spices and some salt. Cover and bring to boil.
When boiled reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a kitchen towel and the lid on top and let it cook until liquid has absorbed and the bulghur are cooked through. Do not stir or open the lid. The texture should be al- dente not over cooked. Around 30 mins.
While the mujadara is being cooked. Fry the sliced onion with olive oil in a separate saucepan, until the onions are caramelized, crispy and brown in colour. Set aside on a plate with paper towel.
When the mujadara is cooked. Remove from heat and transferee to a large platter spread with a fork, allow to cool down before serving.
Drizzle with extra virgin oil and garnish with the caramelised diced onion. Goes well with Arabic salad or yogurt on the side with some Lebanese pickled and spring onions. Can be eaten with Lebanese pita bread.
Basic Arabic salad (salata Arabia). Diced lettuce, tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint and lemon juice, salt, garlic, olive oil for dressing.