Mujadara - Syriously Tasty Lentil & Rice Stew ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mujadara - Syriously Tasty Lentil & Rice Stew

This traditional Syrian lentil and rice stew is the famed "mess of pottage" Esau foolishly traded his birthright away for in Genesis. In Esau's defense, it is really tasty.

Mujdhara, a traditional Syrian lentil & rice stew, by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

This simple lentil, rice and caramelized onion pilaf has many names. You may know it as mujdhara, mujdhra, mujaddara, imjadara, mujadra, or mdardarah. Or, if you are a Daily Show fan, you might be tempted to call it "Mess'o'potagia"...

A cup of green lentils by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Lentils are so good in so many ways--filling, tasty, versatile, healthy and cheap--that it's a wonder we do not eat them every day. Though, to be fair, if we did eat them every day, I'd probably get really sick of them! I tend to need a lot of variety in my food. Not so my dear husband who is happy eating cereal every morning and could cheerfully subsist on peanut butter and jelly for lunch most days. While I admire and am often envious of his zen approach to eating, I tend to take the lead in planning our meals...

Sliced onions by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

I spent some time traveling through India in college, and after eating Indian food (a cuisine I normally love!) for breakfast, lunch and dinner for six weeks straight, I could not even look at the stuff without feeling nauseated for a good year after I got home. Breakfast was definitely the toughest meal for me while I was there - first thing in the morning is just a little too early in the day for me to stomach Indian food.

Brown rice is ready by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

But I digress. Mujadara is good stuff - yummy, filling, and good for you. Middle eastern peasant (or student?) fare all the way. You've got your brown rice, you've got your green lentils, and you've got a mess of delicious caramelized onions. Top it all off with some cumin and cinnamon and you're in business.

Mujdhara, a traditional Syrian lentil & rice stew, by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Serve this with tzatziki (cucumber yogurt salad), hummus, flatbread and a chopped salad for a healthy, truly delicious meal.

Serves 6


* 3 large onions, thinly sliced
*  3 Tbsps olive oil
* 1 cup brown rice (basmati would also work nicely though it's not quite as good for you)
* Water
* 1 cup green or brown lentils
* 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* Sea salt to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* Flat leaf parsley (for garnish)


1. Put 2 1/8 cups of water on to boil. Rinse the rice and drain the water from it. Once the water comes to a boil, add the rice, stir and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the rice, covered, for 40-45 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender.

2. While the rice is cooking, rinse the lentils, removing any bits of chaff, small pebbles or discolored beans. Place the lentils in a pot and cover with cold water by 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Remove from heat, rinse with hot water, and drain.

3. While the lentils and rice are cooking, put the olive oil in a frying pan and sautée the onions over medium- low heat until caramelized - roughly 10 minutes.

4. Combine the rice, lentils, and onions in a large bowl. Add the ground cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, if needed, and serve.

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Also, I'm submitting this recipe for this month's My Legume Love Affair. Check it out!


Anonymous said...

Ohhh Hallelujah! I LOVE this dish, but can only have it when we drive an hour out of town to our fave Mediterranean restaurant. Oh wow I will be making this soon. I even emailed the link to my husband because he's gonna be happy too. Thank you! Syriously, I'm excited. :)

Eve Fox said...

So glad! Maybe we can get this new spelling of seriously to catch on, too.

janet @ the taste space said...

Mujadara has been on my to-do list for a long time, especially with its numerous incarnations. Your photos are so gorgeous it makes me want to make it now. :)

Eve Fox said...

Thanks, Janet :)

Susan said...

The things you read in the Bible...but Esau never had it so good with cinnamon and cumin. ; )

Thanks so much, Eve, for your scrummy MLLA contribution.