Mujaddara...A Middle-Eastern Rice and Lentil Dish If you are looking for a different kind of side dish or main meal, you might want to give this recipe a try. It is a popular vegetarian dish that is a part of the Middle-Eastern cuisine. When looking at the dish, you might not feel that it is very appealing..or that it would taste any good. But the combination of rice, lentils and caramelized onions really do make for a tasty dish. The flavors just blend really well together....at least I think so:). The Mujaddara tastes even better the next day. I like to bring in the Middle-Eastern spices and often do not measure my cumin or coriander....you could even add some cinnamon, if you like. I think the spices add a ton of flavor. But if you don't care for the spices, you can definitely omit them. I like to make this dish by cooking the lentils and rice separately. I have better control over the texture of the rice as well as the lentils. I think traditionally, the two are cooked together. Since, the color of the dish can be kind of blah, I like to add a bit of turmeric to the rice. It sort of brightens the dish up....I only added a pinch this time around, but next time, I will add a bit more...to sort of really brighten the dish.
For this post, I ended up using 2 red onions and one sweet onion. It was all I had at the moment...that is why my onions are sort of purple-ish:). You probably should use yellow... My onions were quite large, but if your onions are on the smaller side, you would probably need to use a bit more. The dish uses lots of fresh onion...but it does cook down quite a bit as it caramelizes. It is the caramelization of the onion that gives the dish incredible flavor. So, I don't think you can have too much onion:)... This dish is traditionally served with some yoghurt, which brings in some freshness and brightens the dish...or try a dallop or two of raita or tzatziki. In any case, if you are looking for a vegetarian dish, you just might want to give this recipe a try. Hope you enjoy...
You will need: initially inspired by AvocadoBravado
3 ex-large onions( I used 2 red + 1 sweet onion, 'cause that is what I had)
1 cup brown lentils, uncooked
3/4 cup basmati rice, uncooked (you can definitely make this even healthier by using some brown rice)
couple of pinches turmeric~optional
salt and pepper~ to taste
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
1/2-1 tsp cumin ~or to taste
1/4 tsp coriander, ground~ or to taste
Cook rice separately in a rice cooker with a couple of pinches of turmeric and maybe a pinch or so of salt. Set aside
Cook lentils, according to package directions. I used my pressure cooker for about 8-9 minutes. Make sure the lentils still retain some of their shape...but is cooked thoroughly. Set aside.
Slice onions thinly...I used my food processor for this. Makes it really simple. You can also chop the onion.
In a large skillet, add the butter and oil. Add sliced/chopped onions and some salt . Cook till caramelized~ this may take some time. Add spices and cook for a minute or so. Reserve a bit of the caramelized onions to top the dish with. Add reserved basmati rice. Stir to combine. Fold in the cooked lentils .
Adjust seasoning. Pile the mujaddara on a plate...top with additional caramelized onions. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with yoghurt.