Mujedrah, Mejadra, Megadarra……

Any way you pronounce it, it is a beautifully balanced dish of fried onions, brown lentils and rice. I found recipes from Syria, Egypt, Israel, and Lebanon…brown rice or white rice, spiced or bland. Recipes varied in the ratio of lentils to rice: some had double the amount of lentils to rice while others had double the amount of rice to lentils; some had a 50:50 combination!!

I was asked by a friend’s dear son at university to suggest a rice dish that he could make himself. Now that means make it as easy as possible!! I will show how to make the basic recipe and then suggest some variations at the end.  The purpose in using the brown rice, besides being more nutritious, is that the brown rice and lentils take about the same amount of time to cook and can be cooked together; this saves cooking time and cleaning up additional pots!!

This is basically all the ingredients you need (besides water and olive oil!)

This is basically all the ingredients you need (besides water and olive oil!)


  • 3 large onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup brown lentils (rinse in cold water and let drain)
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt

Well that sounds easy enough already!

First, heat the oil in a pot to medium heat and add the sliced onions. Cook and stir for about 20 minutes until all the onions are very brown and getting slightly crispy but not burnt. Remove 1/2 the onions into a bowl and reserve until later.

1.  Onions, half-way through frying

1. Onions, half-way through frying

2. Finished fried onions

2. Finished fried onions

Add the rice to the onions in the pot and stir until coated. Now add the lentils, water and salt. Bring it to a boil and then put the stove top on a low setting, cover with a lid and cook for about 45 minutes. Don’t worry; all the water will be absorbed by the rice and lentils.


3. Adding rice to onions

4.  All this water with be absorbed

4. All this water with be absorbed

Once the water is all absorbed, sprinkle the reserved fried onions on top.

Finished dish with reserved fried onions sprinkled on top

5. Finished dish with reserved fried onions sprinkled on top

Simple as that! I love the flavour of the mujedrah just like this. The brown rice has a nutty flavour and the onions give it some sweetness.  If you would like, try frying some chopped garlic with the onions; or try adding a teaspoonful of the Ras El Hanout mixture (my version in the Moroccan category  but you can buy ready-made)..or just add some ground cumin and ground coriander…a teaspoon of cinnamon adds an additional dimension….experiment and tell me what works best for you.  Enjoy Elliot!!



  1. cathy levine · · Reply

    sounds good……..going to send it on to Michael to try. In Israel he should be able to find Ras El Hanout spice quite easily .

    1. for sure, he’ll find a variety of spice blends in the market!

  2. I bought a premixed blend in the Jewish market in Jerusalem from a stand that sold spices and rice blends. I am looking to recreate it so that I can make it quickly at home whenever by just adding water. The mix is dry but clearly has some oil in it – perhaps from the onions? The resulting dish is oniony with yellow rice and already well seasoned. Any ideas?

    1. hi deidre, it’s difficult to determine what the individual spices could be…except by smell and taste. i bought a great paprika spice blend for chicken in the jerusalem market and was able to re-create it somewhat. if you’d like to put our heads together with a sample and try to figure out its components, i’m up for it!! get in touch again. shelley

  3. […] were excellent, smoked chicken salad was wonderful, cold smoked chicken with <a href=””>mujedrah</a&amp;…; and <a […]

  4. I’ve been looking for a good megaderra recipe for awhile. I did add the cumin and coriander, and topped it with a little plain greek yogurt. Delicious. Even our 8 year old asked for more.

    1. This is wonderful news that your child would ask for more! I have tried various combinations of rice to lentils to water and this one certainly worked best for me too. Keep enjoying and thank you for commenting! Shelley

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