Mujaddara is a simple Middle Eastern recipe that consists of lentils, a grain which is typically rice and caramelized onions.
Although the ingredient list is quite short, the flavor packed inside the caramelized onions gives this dish a unique and delicious taste. The added cumin to the rice and lentils also gives the recipe a kick of spice.
It is said to originate in Persia or India, but there are various versions throughout multiple Middle Eastern countries.
The dish is usually topped with mint or coriander and served with yogurt.
The first recipe of Mujaddara dates back to 1226 and was often served during times of celebration.
It is considered an important dish for an individual’s diet, which is why a common saying in the Eastern Arab world is, “A hungry man would be willing to sell his soul for a dish of mujaddara.”
In Lebanon, there are two versions of this dish: one similar to the consistency of rice pudding and the traditional version where each ingredient is showcased separately.
Today, I am going to show you how to make the traditional Lebanese version of this dish!
If you want to make this recipe for yourself, follow the steps below!
- Soak the rice and wash the lentils.
- Add the lentils to a pot, cover with water (for 1 cup of lentils, add 3 cups of water). Season with ground cumin and throw in a couple of bay leaves.
- Cover the pot with the lid, bring to boil and simmer for 5-15 minutes. (not fully cooked)
- When the lentils are looking cooked, add the rinsed and drained rice, and add more water just to cover the rice.
- Season with salt, and pepper. Cover with the lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 10-12 minutes. (Add more time as needed)
- Peel and slice the onions into even half-moon slices.
- To a skillet or a non-stick pan set to medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the onions. Fry them for 10-15 minutes or until the onions have a caramel color and start crisping up slightly.
- When the mujadara is done, remove the lid, give the lentils and rice a quick stir then stir in half of the caramelized onions. Keep the rest of the onions for serving.
- Top with mint and yogurt for serving (optional)
- 1 cup brown or green lentils
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-1/2 cups water
- 1 cup white rice
- 3-1/3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 yellow onions