Mujaddara (مجدرة) is an ancient and simple dish of lentils and rice (or bulgur) of Arabic origin, particularly found in Middle Eastern cuisine. Another common spelling is Mejadra.
We recommend always having some Baharat in the pantry, an Arabic spice blend that can be bought in slightly different but similar compositions. Sabah Baharat”, the Lebanese 7-spice, is particularly suitable for this dish. If you do not have this, mix finely ground cinnamon, pepper, ginger powder, nutmeg, allspice, coriander and cloves in roughly equal amounts.
Apart from that, the number of ingredients is minimal and the preparation is extremely simple. We recommend a large and deep braising pan with a lid, or alternatively a pot with a lid.
Fry a chopped onion in half the olive oil over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes until it starts to colour slightly. Then add finely chopped garlic and sauté, stirring, for just under a minute.
Now add thoroughly washed brown lentils and water. For a little more flavour, we recommend using vegetable stock instead of water.
It is important to use flat brown lentils and no other sorts. Red and green lentils would boil down to mush, darker lentils would not be fully cooked.
The lentils are brought to the boil once and then cooked over low, at most medium heat with the lid on for about 20 minutes until they are almost cooked but still somewhat firm. Packages often contain information on the cooking time of the respective products.
Meanwhile, peel more onions, halve them and cut them lengthwise into slices 2 – 3 mm thick.
In another pan with the other half of the olive oil, gently fry the onion slices with a few pinches of salt over a medium heat until they are golden brown and slightly crispy. This takes quite 30 minutes, during which time you only need to stir a little once in a while. The more time you give the onions over a moderate heat, the more delicious they become.
When the lentils have cooked sufficiently long, add washed long-grain rice (we recommend Basmati) together with the spices and season the remaining liquid with salt.
Mix everything thoroughly, bring to a simmer once more and cook gently again with the lid on for another 20 minutes over a low heat (we: 3 out of 10) until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Depending on the lentils and rice, you may need a little more water than indicated at the end of this recipe. If the rice and / or lentils are not yet fully cooked, but the liquid has already been used up, a little hot water can be added, but you should be cautious, because no sauce should be created here.
When everything is cooked, the rice is carefully loosened with a fork and should then rest again for about 10 minutes with a lid and without heat.
A generous amount of browned onion slices and, if desired, fresh herbs are added on top of the rice and lentils – that’s it!
Very simple, healthy, nutritious and inexpensive.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients ( for 4 people):
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 onions cut into slices
2 cloves of garlic
160 g brown lentils, washed
600 ml vegetable stock or water
140 g Basmati rice, washed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp Lebanese 7-spice or Baharat
½ tsp turmeric
Optional: Fresh herbs (parsley, mint, coriander)