A Lebanese lunch: Moujadara

On dreary London days, like today, leaving the flat to go grocery shopping seems like a huge endeavor.  This is where I once again rely on pantry items for sustenance.  Instead of the usual spaghetti with pasta sauce I decided on something a little different to jazz up my afternoon.

Moujadara: Lentils with rice and crispy onions

Moujadara: Lentils with rice & crispy onions

This recipe for Moujadara (or lentils with rice & crispy onions) is taken from The Lebanese Cookbook by Hussien Dekmak – a recent birthday gift.  I found the original recipe for this dish to be a bit bland so will suggest a few tweaks in order to add flavor and texture.  You might be tempted to skip the crispy onions part to save on calories and extra work but I highly recommend taking that extra step, I loved the crunch it gave.

Serves 4

225g brown or green dried lentils, rinsed (the author recommends brown lentils)
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
100g basmati rice (use a mixture of basmati & wild rice to add color and texture)
salt & black pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
water (substitute veggie or chicken broth to add flavor)
argan oil (optional)

crispy onions
vegetable oil
4 tbsp slice onion

Prepare the lentils first.  Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the lentils.  It should take about 20 minutes to cook, then drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and fry until browned, about 7 mins in mid-high heat.  Add the rice, cooked lentils, salt, pepper and cumin & just enough water (I recommend substituting water for broth) to cover.  Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and stir occasionally for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.  Place in a serving dish.

For the crispy onions, pour vegetable oil in to a deep frying pan.  Heat well and deep fry the sliced onions until brown and crispy.  Serve on top of the lentils and rice mixture.

If you have any argan oil on hand, drizzle it on the lentils & rice then enjoy!

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