Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Another great find on Orangette. Mujadara (there are various spellings) is a Middle-Eastern dish made with rice, lentils and onions. It’s really simple and uses things one normally has on hand in the pantry. The longest part is caramelizing the onions (I should have been a bit more patient with mine, it’s a problem I often have in the kitchen), but it’s really worth it, and theirs will be the main taste of the dish. Mujadara is delicious hot, and I also loved leftovers cold for lunch, served with a salad, bread and cheese. So even though it’s great for a winter meal, it’s fine for a nice summer lunch too. I hope you try it!
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium yellow onions (about 1 ½ lb), finely chopped
1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and other debris
½ cup basmati rice
1 tsp salt, plus more for serving
In a large (12-inch) sauté pan or a Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are deeply caramelized, a rich shade of amber. If they’re burnt and blackened in spots, even better. This is a fairly slow process. Depending on your pan and your stove, this could take between 30 minutes and 1 hour in total.
While the onions are cooking, place the lentils in a medium saucepan, add water to cover by an inch, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the lentils, and set them aside.
When the onions are ready, stir in the rice. Then add the cooked lentils, along with 2 cups of water and the salt. Stir to mix well, and bring the pan to a boil. Reduce the heat to keep the pan at a slow simmer, cover, and cook. Depending on the size and shape of your pan, this last stage – cooking the onions, rice, and lentils together – could take from 20 to 40 minutes. Basically, the dish is done when the rice is done.
After about 20 minutes, remove the lid, and give the pot a gentle stir. If there is still some liquid visible, replace the lid and keep cooking until it is fully absorbed. On the other hand, if there is no obvious liquid, take a taste. If the rice is tender, the mujadara is ready. If the rice is not yet ready, add another splash of water, replace the lid, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. The mujadara is ready to eat when the rice is tender and there is no liquid left in the pan.