Delicious Mujadara from the exotic Middle-Eastern Cuisine!
Made with lentils, rice, and crispy, caramelized onions, this authentic Middle-eastern dish is indigenously vegetarian. Mujadara is an Arabic word that means “pockmarked.” Essentially, it’s made up of lentils, rice and onions, and spiced with cumin. It is often referred to as “peasant food” because of how simple and inexpensive it is. However, that is not what I would use to describe this royal delicacy! The caramelized onions along with rice and lentils lend a wonderful aroma, making this a wholesome, healthy, vegetarian recipe!
When I decided to cook something Middle-Eastern, I immediately thought of this recipe. Yumna cooks up a delicacy with this authentic mujadara recipe! The recipe is fairly simple and can be followed to the T. I, however, chose to modify the amount of ingredients used for a few reasons:
- I didn’t want a recipe where the lentils overpowered the rice. I wanted a balanced meal and I found that using lesser lentils than you would rice is perfect.
- I used some Green chili to spice up the lentils. This isn’t featured in any recipe I’ve seen online. However, the first time I tried it, it seemed pretty bland for my Indian palate! So I use a few green chilies while cooking the lentils and then discard them.
- I used the brown lentils (horse-gram or whole masoor dal). You can use any green or brown lentils you prefer!
What Ingredients You Need To Make The Mujadara –
- Rice: the long-grained white Basmati is definitely one of the best types of rice to use for pretty much any pilaf kind of recipes. And it is true for this one too! But you can use any rice you prefer (including brown or red rice). You will need to adjust the water and cooking time accordingly
- Lentils: Traditionally, this recipe is made with brown or green lentils, which are inexpensive and easy to find in any grocery stores. Make sure to use whole grams (and not split ones like the red lentil which can get mushy when cooked)
- Onions: You can use the White or Red Onion. The important thing is to not skip on them! Onions are what make this dish whole! Slowly caramelizing these onions lends a beautiful brown color to the mujadara!
- Olive Oil: A lot of recipes recommend using only the olive oil because apparently, that’s important to the recipe! So I did. But I’m sure this would work with any non-aromatic, plain vegetable oils.
- Cumin Spice: Jeera or Cumin powder is traditionally used. But you can also use black pepper, cinnamon or other spices that you’d like.
- Optionally, use Bulgar instead of Rice – While I didn’t try this with bulgur, I found many recipes online who did! If you’re looking for a healthier version of the mujaddara, use bulgur!
I love middle-eastern recipes. Pita bread or this honeycomb bread are 2 of my favorite recipes on this blog!
Here’s a quick video recipe:Print
Mujadara (mujaddara) is an authentic Middle-Eastern dish of lentils and rice garnished with crispy onions. Get recipe for this vegetarian dish here!
- 1/3 cup Brown Lentils
- 1/2 cup Long-Grained White Basmati Rice
- 3 Large Onions
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin (or Black Pepper)
- 2 Green Chili (optional – not used traditionally)
- 1–2 cups Water (adjust as required)
Making Caramelized Onions
- Slice Onions to thin, long pieces
- In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil
- Add the onions & mix. Fry slowly on low flame, stirring regularly to avoid burning
- The onions will start to sweat after 3-5 minutes on low flame
- Continue to fry on medium to low flame for 15-30 minutes until the onions start to caramelize and turn crispy brown
- Add a pinch of salt to flavor the onions, mix well and switch the flame off. Set aside and use as required
Cooking the Rice & Lentils
- Wash the lentils well. Soak the lentils in water for 30 minutes (or upto overnight). This is optional, but helps speeden the cooking process. Then discard the water.
- To a large pan with high sides, add the lentils and water (for 1 cup of lentils, use 1.5-3 cups of water). Add the green chilli pieces and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer, cover and cook on medium flame for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice well and set aside
- Remove the water to a container (do not discard them yet). Discard the green chilies.
- Add the rinsed rice to the lentils. Add the salt, cumin powder and mix well.
- Now, add 1.5 cups of water (use water from lentils or fresh water) and mix well.
- Bring to a boil, simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is completely cooked.
- Gently fluff up the rice to mix the spices, without breaking them up
Serving the Mujadara
- Add the cooked rice and lentils to a serving bowl. Garnish with crispy caramelized onions and mint and serve hot!
- You can also serve this with some fresh yogurt (soy yogurt, if you’re vegan!) and some fresh crunchy salad!
- Category: Main
- Method: Skillet Cooking
- Cuisine: Middle-Eastern (Lebanese)
Keywords: mujadara, mujadarrah, mujadara recipe, middle-eastern pilaf, vegetarian mujadara