I have a penchant for Syrian/ Lebanese cooking these days, so I couldn’t resist preparing another Arabian recipe called Mujaddara. With minimal ingredients and easy to master technique, mujadara is a perfect meal that’s healthy and also easy on your pocket.
Now, Mujaddara reminds me of pelau – but without the meat, sugar and some other ingredients. However, despite its simplicity I find is surprisingly tasty. For my mujaddara recipe I used normal white rice but I found out this humble dish can also be made with brown rice or bulgur wheat. This dish has very humble beginnings.
This dish was very important for the poor in the mid east and I could see why after making mujaddara. It’s really cheap and easy to prepare. Lentil peas is cheap even by our standards and onions could be bought cheaply in the market.
Today, this medieval dish, commonly served without meat, could easily be adopted and served with a side of barbecue meat and salad. I would even add a side of smoked herring choka or saltfish buljol to mine. Plus, it has the makings of a dish I would happily prepare during the Lenten season.
Nevertheless, this lentil dish is becoming one of my favourite vegetarian dishes in my home. You should also know that lentil peas is a good replacement for meat as it is a good source of protein and potassium.
The Mujaddara Recipe
I will begin this recipe with this amusing saying from the Eastern Arab world, “A hungry man would be willing to sell his soul for a dish of Mujaddara”. Enjoy.
1 cup lentil peas
4 cups water, to cook
1 cup rice
2 med onions, sliced thinly
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt or to taste
pepper to taste (optional)
Boil rice. Drain and set aside.
Note: The brown lentils are more common in Trinidad and Tobago. I guess you may choose the type common where you live.
Place cooked rice in a bowl, add lentils and 2 tsp salt (pepper optional), stir mixture evenly.
Note: The onions will give a sweet fragrance when they’re ready. Pay attention to the colour. We don’t want burnt onions.
The finished mujaddara. Looks like a cook up rice but tastes so different.
Hope you enjoyed the mujaddara recipe. See how simple it was? More recipes to come as usual.
Before I go here’s a nice pic of the saying I wrote about.