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In praise of mujadara/mujadarra/mujadarah!

The recent lentils thread prompted me to make a big batch of mujadara, which I love, but often forget to include in my general rotation. I know it's been covered a lot on this board, but I just wanted to chime in with how much I love this stuff and how versatile it is. With my double batch, I had it:

- as a main course, with some plain yogurt and a salad of cucumber/tomates/onions on the side
- as a side dish, with a grilled steak and roasted brussels sprouts
- as breakfast, mixed with leftover steak and fried up crisp in the cast iron skillet, topped with a fried egg (I gotta say, this may have been my favorite prep)
- as lunch, with sliced cucumbers and yogurt in a whole wheat wrap
- as another main course, with roasted curried cauliflower
- as a snack, standing in front of the fridge with a fork

Oh, and a big squirt of siracha mixed in with the rice is fantastic when I'm looking for some heat.

I cook my lentils and rice (brown rice this time) separately. I saute onions and cumin seeds in olive oil before tossing in the lentils and water (I've used broth in the past instead of water, but found it just as good made with water). Once the lentils and rice are ready, it all gets mixed together with the giant pan of caramelized onions I made, some salt, pepper, cinnamon and cumin powder. Easy, fast (except the onions) and so good.

How do you like to eat your mujadara?

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  1. Agreed, so fantastic! I already posted over on the lentils thread, but to summarize - I made it for the first time about a week ago and used black beluga lentils, basmati rice, and bacon - it was fabulous. We ate it with lots of Greek yogurt, diced cucumber, and minced mint. I made it again a few night ago, and this time, since we were out of yogurt, we topped it with some goat cheese I wanted to use up - and this was fantastic also! My mom made it recently (without bacon) and threw in some leftover duck confit, and topped it with gremolata - she raved. Despite having very specific and distinct flavors, I agree that it's a very versatile dish. I also agree that some heat is essential - I used cayenne pepper, but I could see sriracha working too. AMAZING.

    1. In addition to what I already posted on the other thread, I used the last of it with an egg, too. I separated an egg, made a well in the mound of mujadarra, and put the whites in the center along with a little Dubliner cheese. I nuked on medium power until the whites were almost done, then put the yolk atop them and nuked another 10 seconds. Next time it will be a full-sized batch. This first time out, I was using up a half bag of lentils and about 2 cups of already-cooked brown jasmine rice.

      1. I grew up eating mujadarra and still love it. Simple soul food, cheap and satisfying. I usually serve it with a the standard yogurt cucumber sauce and of course crispy fried onions. It goes well with a big green salad, or a tomato and cucumber salad. I also like it with fish. It was a dairy dish meaning no meat in our household. I don't make it often enough but threads like this make me search the pantry for lentils.

        1 Reply
        1. re: scubadoo97

          The onions are a requirement in my house. I make a ton and freeze them

        2. I just made (& tasted) Mujadara last night for the first time. I am IN LOVE with it. I used this recipe: http://theconfusedhomemaker.com/2010/..., but made some modifications. Instead of cumin, I used sumac and used chicken broth instead of water. I also added the juice of a whole lemon. It was amazing. I can't wait to try these other variations!

          12 Replies
          1. re: Tehama

            Thanks for bumping this and reminding me. It inspired me to make a batch today, which I'm enjoying right now. So very satisfying!

            1. re: Tehama

              Sorry to be so stupid, but what does one do with the rest of the onions after they are "fully caramelized and blackened"? Just mix with the cooked lentils and rice? The recipe doesn't say.

              1. re: Joebob

                Yes, you just toss it all together. You can reserve some of the caramelized onions as a topping, if you'd like. And I would caution against relying on the term "blackened", as that sounds awfully burnt. "Well caramelized and deep golden brown" is probably a better description.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  Thanks for your prompt response. (Would it be amiss to say "You Canadians are so polite!") I've just changed my copy, and I don't have any trouble blackening onions, unfortunately.

                  1. re: Joebob

                    You're welcome. :)

                    Have you caramelized onions before? If not, there are some great threads on the topic on this board. But if you don't want to go hunting them down and you want to try this recipe, here are some quick tips for stove top caramelizing (there are other methods, but this is easy and works for me):

                    - you need a really big frying pan
                    - slice the onions reasonably thin (1/4 inch or less)
                    - saute on medium high until they get translucent and soft
                    - add a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar (optional, but I find the sugar in the vinegar helps things along)
                    - reduce heat to low and pretty much just leave the pan alone for a looong time. I'm talking 45 minutes or more. Give an occasional stir (no more than every 10 or 15 mins is necessary, even less is ok).

                    Your onions shouldn't burn and should turn a deep, deep golden brown.

              2. re: Tehama

                Out of curiosity - if one wanted to try this recipe with brown rice instead of white rice, would you add the lentils and brown rice at the same time?

                1. re: cresyd

                  Your lentils may over cook due to the longer time to cook brown rice.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Thanks for the tips - but I think I'm going to give it a try this weekend using bulgar instead of rice - so we shall see how that goes.

                  2. re: cresyd

                    I always cook the lentils separately to ensure that both rice and lentils are properly done.

                    1. re: aching

                      Me, too. I don't like mushy lentils, so I like the control that cooking the lentils separately gives me.

                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        I like the flavor that is imparted from the lentil liquid to the rice but that does require more careful timing.

                        I also like to add the oil used in the browning of the onions to the rice when starting the rice. Great flavor burst from that too.

                2. I only recently started making mujadara and found this salmon salad recipe that sounds a bit strange but is incredibly delicious! My friends love it and ask for it often. http://une-deuxsenses.blogspot.com/20.... I love this post - many new ways to enjoy this delicious new treat! Thanks.