This Mujadara recipe holds a special place in my heart, steeped in memories from my childhood. A dish that has graced our family dinner table countless times, its creamy lentils, fluffy rice, and unforgettable golden fried onions never fail to take me back to simpler times. In our home, particularly during Lent, my mother often turned to this rich yet wholesome dish — not just because of its satisfying flavors but its simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
I might not reveal my age, but I’ve savored this dish hundreds of times. And the joy it brings me when my husband requests it speaks volumes of its timeless appeal. Making Mujadara is a breeze, except, of course, for chopping those onions. To this day, no technique spares me the tears, but the result? You be the judge! Let me know when you make this recipe.
While the traditional Jordanian way I grew up with pairs it with the refreshing crunch of Salata Arabia, I occasionally switch it up. Sometimes, I’ll use bulgur instead of rice, reminiscent of the Lebanese rendition. Whichever way it’s served, one thing remains: Mujadara isn’t just food; it’s nostalgia on a plate. Join me as I share the best Mujadara recipe, honed by years of love, tradition, and many an onion tear.
What is Mujadara?
Mujadara (pronounced moo-ja-dara) is a time-honored Arabic dish rich in flavor and history. Comprised of spiced lentils, rice, and caramelized onions, its roots trace back to ancient times, making it one of the Middle East’s known dishes. This culinary gem is cherished in many countries across the Middle East, each with its slight variation in name and flavor profile, reflecting the diverse cultural tapestry. Intriguingly, the name ”Mujadara’ derives from the Arabic word for “pockmarked,” a playful nod to the appearance of lentils interspersed amongst the grains. Whether savoring its rich taste or diving into its storied past, mujadara offers a delectable journey through time and tradition.
Mujadara Recipe Ingredients:
- Brown Lentils and Long-Grain Rice: The heart of Mujadara, this dynamic duo creates a wholesome and comforting foundation. The ratio of one part lentils to rice ensures a perfect balance.
- Large Onions: Sliced into moon shapes, these onions become a sweet and caramelized topping that adds depth to the dish.
- Cumin: Infuses a warm and earthy note, enhancing Mujadara’s overall depth of flavor.
- Turmeric: Adds a subtle earthiness and a golden hue to the dish, elevating appearance and taste.
- Salt: Balances the flavors, ensuring a harmonious blend in every bite.
- Sumac: A sprinkle of sumac brings a tangy and citrusy zing, brightening the dish.
- Olive Oil for Frying: Used to fry the onions, contributing to the overall richness.
- Flour: Coats the onions before frying, creating a crispy texture for the perfect topping.
- Cornstarch: Another element for achieving crispiness, cornstarch adds an extra layer of crunch to the fried onions.
Tips For the Best Mujadara
- Add some olive oil and spices to enhance the flavor. I like to add cumin and turmeric to the lentil water while cooking since I do not use stock.
- I also sprinkle sumac on the onions when they are frying.
- Fry the onion first so that you can add some to the rice and lentils while they are cooking. This will give the dish a more robust onion flavor.
- I like to use an equal amount of lentils and rice. For each cup of lentils, I use one cup of rice. However, there are no set rules. If you like more lentils, add more! Ensure you don’t add too much water; otherwise, the dish will be mushy.
- Make sure to use the whole kernel of lentils, not cracked lentils.
- You can use either long or short-grain rice. Some people also like to use coarse-cut burghul, which gives the dish a great texture.
What to Serve Mujadara With?
Mujadara is a versatile dish that pairs harmoniously with a variety of sides. Most traditionally, it’s accompanied by Salata Arabia, a vibrant salad that refreshes the palate. A tahini salad or a creamy yogurt salad (outside of Lent) can be the perfect addition to a creamy touch. However, if you’re in the mood for something straightforward and undeniably delicious, simply offering chopped tomatoes drizzled with olive oil does the trick. Whether you opt for the classic sides or just want to keep it uncomplicated, mujaddara is adaptable to any meal setting.
I would love to hear your experience!
Call to Action:
Did you try the recipe? Drop a comment below! We’d love to know how it turned out. And hey, on a scale of 1 to Niagara Falls, how much did you cry while chopping those onions? Share your tears (of joy, we hope!), and let’s get talking!