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This moudardara or mujadara recipe is a traditional Lebanese recipe of lentils with rice and caramelized onion. It’s bursting with amazing flavors and it’s a delicious vegetarian comfort meal.
Mejadra/Mujaddara/Mudadara/Moudardara, this Middle Eastern recipe has so many different names variations so let’s just call it Lebanese lentils with rice and caramelized onions instead. 🙂
I first tried this wonderful recipe at a Lebanese restaurant and absolutely loved it. I’m not a big fan of green lentils, as I prefer the red type instead, but I bought green lentils especially for this recipe and it was a success!
It was very difficult to find a good moudardara recipe online. I only found crappy recipes which surely didn’t taste authentic just by reading the ingredients. I mean the only spice they had was salt. Really?!
One thing I remembered about this recipe is that it had a strong cinnamon taste. I did a bit of research and finally, I discovered Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipe here. I knew this was going to be my inspiration. So I followed his instructions but adjusted it a little bit to my own taste.
For example, I didn’t deep-fry the onions like he says in the recipe. Instead, I used less oil and caramelized them after I dipped them in some cornstarch. I wanted them to be extra crispy and this seemed to do the trick.
The result was just what I expected. It has an incredible cinnamon taste, a subtly sweet flavor, and the textures…oh…the textures are just perfect in this dish. Caramelized onions take it to the next level.
Hope you’ll give this lentils with rice recipe a try. I’m sure you’ll love it!
Moudardara | Lebanese Lentils with Rice
- 250 g green or brown lentils
- 200 g long grain white rice
- 4 onions medium, julienned
- 4 Tbsps sunflower oil - for frying
- 2 tsp cumin seeds ground
- 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds ground
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp turmeric ground
- 1½ tsp allspice ground
- 1½ tsp cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsps cornstarch
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. Add the julienned onions into a bowl and sprinkle cornstarch on them. Cover them with starch and then add them to the pan and fry them over medium-high heat, for 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. They're ready when they're golden. Make sure you stir constantly so you won't burn them. You don't want to turn them black.
- When ready, turn off the heat and sprinkle them with salt.
- Meanwhile, put the lentils in a saucepan, cover them with water, and boil them for 20 minutes, until they're soft but not mushy.
- Move the caramelized onions to a bowl and rinse the saucepan. Heat the saucepan and add the spices. Toast them over medium heat for 1 minute, then add the rice, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Add the cooked lentils and 400ml of water. Let them simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve this with the caramelized onion on top.