Depending on which part of the Levant you’re from you might recognize this dish as Mujaddara or Mudardara. The Lebanese call it Mujaddara or sometimes Mujaddara Msofeye (which means Sieved Mujaddara), the Syrians call it Mudardara (and vice versa) and the Egyptians aren’t quite sure.
Wikipedia tells me that the word in Arabic refers to Smallpox because of the texture of the dish. It’s essentially a dish made of Lentils, rice, and onions. In one version, what the Lebanese call Mujaddara, the lentils are cooked seperately, then passed through a mill (to separate the skins from the content), after which the rice and fried onions are added. In the other, Mudardara, each ingredients is kept “separate” and whole.
“Mujaddara is Friday or Lent food for Christians. Some Lebanese villages also make this recipe with white broad beens instead of the lentils, or Burghol instead of the rice.”
Mujaddara is usually eaten luke warm or even cold. You can serve it with a side of cabbage salad, or the way my grandmother served it, with a tomato, cucumber and parsley salad, with pressed garlic, lemon and olive oil.
- 400 g of Green or Brown Lentils
- 1 Medium sized Onion
- 1/4 of a Cup of Rice
- Olive Oil
- A Food Mill
- Boil the lentils in salted water until tender (usually about 30-40 minutes). You can add water progressively as the water is absorbed by the lentils.
- In the meantime finely chop the onion and cook it in a good amount of Olive Oil
- Put the lentils and their cooking water through the Food Mill. This separates the skins.
- Place the lentil soup back on the heat, add the fried onions and the olive oil they were cooked in, and the rice.
- Bring the mix to a boil, then down to a simmer until the rice has cooked.
- Serve in soup dishes, or in a glass recipient, so that the Mujaddara layer is 4 or 5 cm deep. Eat lukewarm or cold with a side salad.
Tips: You can double the portions if you want to have enough for more than one meal, or for a bigger family. Some people add cumin to the Mujaddara. It’s supposed to help your body digest the grains.