Mujaddara

[image: bowl of mujaddara]
[image: bowl of mujaddara]

This is a follow-up to my mujaddara post from last year. I think I’ve found a version I like. I found out that I was sort of wrong about the original dish from Mediterranean Grill House. I took a look at the menu on their website, and it’s listed there as “Mujaddarah – Kushari.”

Kushari is an Egyptian dish which, like mujaddara, involves rice, lentils, and onions. However, it also contains macaroni, which was the mystery addition in MGH’s dish. So it’s more like a combination of the two? No vinegary tomato sauce, though (but I always dumped a ton of their hot sauce on top). The bright yellow I haven’t really found in any variation of either recipe. I added some turmeric to mine, but I think in order to get it the right shade, I’d need to add a bunch more to the rice as it’s cooking, and not just in the spiced oil.

(This is not a traditional recipe, just FYI. Also this particular method uses way too many dishes.)

1.5 cups long-grain white rice (I like jasmine)
1 cup brown lentils
2 onions, sliced into half-moons
vegetable oil
kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
plain greek yogurt or sour cream, to serve
lemon juice, to serve

Cook the rice using your preferred method—stovetop, rice cooker, whatever. But for me, it’s the oven. In a 8×8 baking dish rubbed with a skosh of butter or oil, put 1.5 cups of rice, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 2 1/3 cup boiling water. Stir, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 hour at 375. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and set aside while other things are finishing.

(p.s. this method is amazing for brown rice and farro)

Cook the lentils on the stovetop in 4 cups of water until tender, 20–25 minutes.

In a pot that will be large enough to hold all the ingredients eventually, splash a bit of oil and add the onions and some salt. Over medium-low to medium heat, caramelize the onions. This will take a while. Add a sprinkle of sugar if you get impatient.

In a little pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the cumin, turmeric, paprika, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir to combine over medium-low heat. Once the smell gets really potent and the oil starts to bubble around the edges a bit, remove from heat.

Stir the oil into the onions. Add the lentils and rice and mix everything together.

Serve with yogurt or sour cream, lemon juice, and an extra little sprinkle of salt. (If you want to make this vegan, just leave out the dairy garnish.)

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