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!!
- 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.
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.
Once the water is all absorbed, sprinkle the reserved fried onions 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!!