BM# 44: A-Z Cooking Series — Around the World in 30 days
Country: L for Lebanon
Dish: Mujadara (Rice & Lentils dish)
We are going to Lebanon, a country that is located in Western Asia. I think my first experience with Lebanese cuisine was at the local Mediterranean restaurant near my office. It was run by a super active mother-daughter team. They would memorize the orders in their heads and never wrote them down — no matter how big the order was. They used to have the usual Mediterranean dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush, pita etc., but what I really wanted to order was their Lebanese Moussaka which they said was vegetarian. But unfortunately I never did and now that I’m not working there, I wish I had ordered that dish.
Well today, I didn’t make the moussaka, but I made another really filling and comforting Rice & Lentil dish called Mujadara. Mujadara is a humble and comforting dish made with pantry staples, rice and lentils. There is nothing fancy about it, but it is a very flavorful dish with the grown cumin and the crispy fried onions on top. It is also quick dish to make and is usually served with a dollop of yogurt.
Mujadara (Rice & Lentils dish)
- 1/2 cup lentils Brown or Green - (I used whole masoor or brown )
- 1/2 cup Rice - (I use Jasmine rice, but any long grain rice should work)
- 1 Onions - large, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Ground
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
- to taste Salt
- Soak rice for 15~20 minutes.
- Cook the lentils until almost cooked through, they should hold their shape and should not be mushy at all. I pressure cooked the lentils for 3 whistles, but you can boil them in a pot with 2cups of water.
- Once the lentils are par cooked, heat 3tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds and cracked pepper and cook for 30 seconds; add the sliced onions and cook on medium flame, stirring occasionally until the onions are caramelized and are deep brown in color.
- Remove half of the onions into a bowl and set aside for garnish later.
- To the remaining onions in the pot, add the drained rice along with ground cumin, cayenne and salt. Mix well and cook for 2~3 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and 2~3 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and cook covered until the rice is cooked through.
- I pressure cooked everything for 2 whistles.
- Serve the dish with the caramelized onions on top.