Mujaddara is a Lebanese dish, but I’ve also seen it associated with Jordan and Iran. I believe the origins are regional and predate today’s borders, but if you have more info please let me know in the comments below.
This recipe is simple, savory, and an unsuspecting crowd pleaser. The caramelized onions are heaven and the vibrant spices bring the dish to life. Rick houses it.
1 c lentils
1/2 c olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns, cracked or whole
3-5 red onions
2 t sea salt
3/4 c brown basmati rice
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1″ cinnamon stick
3 c water
2 T pine nuts, toasted (optional)
- Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns, occasionally shaking the pan until the cumin seeds darken, about one minute.
- Sauté onions and 1/2 t sea salt, stirring often. The onions are done when they’re dark brown in color with slightly crispy edges. This will take about ten minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, move about half of the onions to a tea towel or paper towel-lined plate. These are for garnish.
- Add ground cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick and sauté about one minute.
- Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
- Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and allow the rice mixture to steam for about five minutes.
- If using, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat about five minutes.
- Serve rice mixture with the reserved onions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and pine nuts, if using.
Unlike the photo above, make a polished table presentation by filling a mold or small bowl with the dish and flipping it onto a plate.
Enjoy this mujaddara for lunch or dinner, as a side, or as a main course.
Adapted from Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions.