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Mujaddara: Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice

Mujaddara: Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice

Mujaddara Recipe

How can you go wrong with a delicious combination of caramelized onions, rice and lentils? The truth is, you can’t.

Caramelized onions make things better. More special. Sweet, and with a knowing addition that the flavors were slowly coaxed out. I often find myself craving lentils, of any kind, and this dish has quickly become a favorite of mine.

Mujaddara is a classic Middle Eastern dish known for its simple ingredients but deep flavors. It consists mainly of lentils and rice, often seasoned with a variety of aromatic spices like cumin, cinnamon, and allspice, depending on the regional recipe. This hearty dish is topped with caramelized onions, which add a sweet and savory depth to its earthy base.

Mujaddara is vegetarian and hearty and healthy and just all around satisfying, comfort food.  You cook up some rice, and infuse some flavors, you boil some lentils and infuse some flavors, and you caramelize some onions, toss all three together, and then mix up some spiced yogurt to pair it with. Delicious!

Mujaddara Recipe


How to Make Mujaddara


  1. Prepare the Lentils:

    • In a pot, add lentils and cover with about 5 cups of water. Add a generous pinch of salt, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, and sliced green chili.
    • Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

  2. Cook the Rice:

    • Drain the soaked basmati rice. In a pot, combine the rice with 1 and 1/2 cups of water and the aromatics (clove, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick).
    • Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave covered for an additional 10 minutes.

  3. Caramelize the Onions:

    • In a large pan, heat a mix of butter and olive oil. Add sliced onions and season with salt and pepper.
    • Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes, allowing onions to soften and become light brown. Add more oil or water as needed to prevent sticking. Once light brown, increase heat slightly to finish caramelizing to a deeper brown.

  4. Combine and Serve:

    • In a serving bowl, mix the cooked rice, lentils, and caramelized onions.
    • Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve optionally with Greek yogurt mixed with fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Recipe Notes:

  • Ensure the lentils and rice are not overcooked to maintain texture.
  • Adjust the amount of green chili according to your spice preference.
  • Can be served hot or at room temperature.

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Mujaddara Recipe

Mujaddara Recipe


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Honest Cooking
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4

Description

Mujaddara is a classic Middle Eastern dish known for its simple ingredients and rich flavors. It consists of lentils and rice, seasoned with a variety of aromatic spices, and topped with caramelized onions.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked
  • 3/4 cup French lentils, rinsed and drained
  • Aromatics: 1 bay leaf, several black peppercorns, 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 green chili (sliced and deseeded)
  • Cilantro coriander (for garnish)

For serving (optional):

  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Lentils:
    • In a pot, add lentils and cover with about 5 cups of water. Add a generous pinch of salt, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, and sliced green chili.
    • Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the Rice:
    • Drain the soaked basmati rice. In a pot, combine the rice with 1 and 1/2 cups of water and the aromatics (clove, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick).
    • Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave covered for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Caramelize the Onions:
    • In a large pan, heat a mix of butter and olive oil. Add sliced onions and season with salt and pepper.
    • Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes, allowing onions to soften and become light brown. Add more oil or water as needed to prevent sticking. Once light brown, increase heat slightly to finish caramelizing to a deeper brown.
  4. Combine and Serve:
    • In a serving bowl, mix the cooked rice, lentils, and caramelized onions.
    • Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve optionally with Greek yogurt mixed with fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Notes

  • Ensure the lentils and rice are not overcooked to maintain texture.
  • Adjust the amount of green chili according to your spice preference.
  • Can be served hot or at room temperature.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Iraqi

Mujaddara, serves 4

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed, and soaking in water
  • 3/4 cup (7,5dl) French lentils, rinsed and drained
  • Aromatics: bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, green chili
  • Chopped coriander

1. Place lentils in a pot and cover with water (about 5 cups (1,25dl)). Salt generously and toss in a bay leaf, a few black peppercorns, two cloves and a sliced chili (seeds removed). Bring to a simmer and cook lentils about 25-30 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

See Also

2. Cook rice how you wish, in a rice cooker, or in a pot with 1 and 1/2 cups water, add in some aromatics such as clove, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer, cover, turn stove to low for 15minutes and then turn off and leave covered for 10 more.

3. Caramelize onions by heating some butter and olive oil in a large pan, stir in onions, salt and pepper.  Let onions soften on medium for about 25 minutes.  Add more oil or water to moisten the onions and when they are light brown, increase heat to brown them.

4. In a medium serving bowl, toss together rice, onions and lentils.  You can serve this with some Greek yogurt mixed with fresh mint and lemon juice.

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