Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mujadara (Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils)

Mujadara is one of my fav rice/protein dishes, probably because it is flavoured with caramelized onions, which I am crazy about. Unfortunately, the people at Sahara are really freaking rude (i.e. I was yelled at in line) so I don't go there anymore. I will flat out tell you they are more experienced rice/lentil makers than I, but I think with a few more seasonings, mine will be just as good.

I got my basic recipe from Frugal Cuisine but changed it up a bit.

I am still not sure how to pronounce it. I have heard all sorts of pronunciations, from "massa-dura" to "mu-ha-dra". I have also heard that it traditionally has ground meat, but I have never seen it in there and for me, it's always been vegetarian.

Note about onions: "Caramelizing" just means drawing out the sugar, basically. This process cannot be rushed. It takes a long time. But, as with a lot of things, it is worth the wait. It is not like sauteeing where the vegetable will brown quickly and still have a crunch. The onions have no heat after this so onion-haters, give this a try. You will start with a lot of onion and the end result will be a delicious small amount of onion. You can use them for all sorts of things: pasta, sandwiches, scrambled tofu, soups, etc. Just keep them in your fridge.

Basic recipe:

*2/3 c brown lentils (can use green)
*2/3 c long-grain rice
*dash cumin powder
*about 2 1/4 c (HOT) water (reserve water- will explain)
*4 green or black cardamom pods (more to taste, or omit)
*"chicken"-flavoured vegan broth powder/cubes or vegetable broth powder/cubes (I use No-Chicken Better Than Bouillon) for 2 cups worth of water.
*Several onions, peeled and sliced thin (can use food processor if doing a lot of onions, which I suggest doing since you will be caramelizing anyway- you may as well make extra.)

First, let's start the onions.
Take a large, wide pan and heat olive oil or a good quality margarine (Earth balance) on MED. Put your heaping mass of onions in and turn to MED-LO.
Put a pinch of salt and stir the onions every so often. Do not turn up the heat. This honestly took me..probably an hour, but it's mostly inactive.


Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil or margarine in a (separate) medium cooking pot with tall sides. Add the lentils, rice, dash cumin powder, cardamom. Stir frequently as this can burn. You want the rice to turn a *slightly* golden colour. All you are doing here is toasting the seasonings and the rice/lentils. This takes about 5 minutes.

Add *about* 2 cups of the water, with the broth powder/cubes dissolved. (The original instructions that I linked to said to put water so it is about 2 cm above the rice and beans, which is a really good old school method- but steam will burn you! So just do a little under 2 cups.

Cook the lentils and rice about 20 minutes. I had to add a little more water (about 1/4 c) and cook longer, just until lentils and rice are tender.

When onions are done, mix into the rice (to taste), add salt and serve.

Picture coming soon

1 comment:

Cakespy said...

We were just looking around at blogs for something to make for dinner...thought you'd like to know this is what we chose! :-) Sounds delicious.