I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
First of all, I can honestly say I’ve never met a bowl of lentils and rice I didn’t like. Last year, I spent quite a bit of time thinking of new creative ways to cook rice and lentils together, which culminated in this delicious meal that has been a popular one on the blog (even if it is just for that delicious sauce).
But I can honestly say this recipe may just be the best reason to keep rice stocked in the house, something I’ve tried in vain to avoid these past few years given it’s all but impossible to source it locally. But even I’ve got to admit I still love a warm bowl of rice – white or brown, it’s soft comforting texture is sometimes just the ticket for a hungry belly. The family definitely loves it too, so it’s always in our pantry in several forms, though it certainly gets a lot less play in the house these days. This traditional Lebanese lentil and rice dish was shared with us at GRAIN here by our friend The Dallah, one of the many talented Vancouverites we’ve met and collaborated with this year. Dallah created 3 amazing recipes for us this spring, and we recently published this as the last of the series on our Journal. Dallah’s recipes are extensions of who he is, a Lebanese born talent who’s recipes bring us to far away places, almost like we are there with him as he grew up. With a few simple steps and ingredients you’ll already have on hand, there’s something really special about his food. I recommend visiting his site for more of his special recipes and beautiful pictures, and if you’re lucky enough to live in Vancouver, follow him on Instagram to see if you can catch one of his pop-up food events. I recently served this Mujadra to my family on a cold winter night, loaded with tahini lemon sauce and some good TV. It was so good I had to share it with you all.
My first intro to Mujadra (or Moudardara as it is known in Lebanon and other regions), was at Vancouver restaurant Nuba, and I’ve also known a friend or two who’s made it for dinner parties. It is a traditional Lebanese dish deep in flavour from rich caramelized onions (and lots of them too!), so this is definitely not for those who are sensitive. The cooking is straight forward, and the end results are incredibly satisfying – this recipe is perfect as is and required not one bit of modification. If you can, I recommend using our Laird Lentils from GRAIN, as they’ll stay firm and cook up big and beautiful. A perfect compliment to white rice and all the fixings.
Dallah recommends a Mint Cucumber Yoghurt for this dish, and I’ve had it both ways, they are both so delicious I recommend trying them all! For more of Dallah’s GRAIN-based recipes visit our site, where you can find his Chickpea Fatteh, and his Date & Nut Wheat Berry Cereal. While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter, so you’ll never miss a recipe 😉
Traditional Lentil Mujadra | Lentils & Rice:
1 cup GRAIN Laird lentils or any large green lentil
3/4 cups medium grain white rice (I use Jasmine)
3 medium or 2 large yellow onions
1 large red onion
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
For the Bowls:
1 pint grape tomatoes, half sliced the other half whole
1 English cucumber, washed and chopped
Tahini Lemon Sauce
Fresh Italian Parsley, minced
Prep both the yellow and red onions by slicing them with the grain to create long strips (keep separate). Measure out and clean lentils and rice, set each aside. Put the lentils in a saucepan covered with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered on medium high for 25 mins, until tender with a slight bite. If using roasted grape tomatoes, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the whole tomatoes into a pan and dress very lightly with oil. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes, until blistered. Remove and set aside until ready to use.
While the lentils are cooking, put the 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup olive oil in another deep saucepan (I love my Staub braiser for this) and place on medium-high. Once the oil is hot, sauté onions until tender and almost caramelized. Once the lentils are done, remove from heat and drain. Transfer the lentils to the pan with the cooked onions. Add rice, spices, and stir to mix well. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
In a new pan, add the last 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and fry the red onions in the same way, except this time cook them until completely caramelized and crisp.Once the lentils and rice are done, remove from heat, quickly open and cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and then cover with lid. It will allow the rice to continue to steam while removing any condensation that would make the mixture feel wet. Set aside for 10 minutes. Open and use a fork or wooden spoon to stir and fluff.
Serve the Mujadra with Tahini Lemon Sauce, a salad of fresh greens, cucumber and tomato, parsley, and roasted cherry tomatoes.