Mujaddara

Hadith on Lentils

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) said: "The Prophet of Allah (S) said to me: 'O ‘Ali you should eat lentils as it is a blessed and holy food. It softens the heart and increases one’s inclination to weep (to Allah), and seventy prophets have blessed it, the last of whom was ‘Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus) (as).'" [‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rid’a 2:40, Musnad al-Imam al-Rid’a: 342]

Salaam alaykum dear readers!

 

Whether you spell it mujaddara, moujadara, majadra, mudardara, if you've never had this dish you'll want to try it. It's a beloved dish that's popular all over the Middle East from Lebanon to Palestine to those of Syrian & Egyptian descent. It is a favorite dish that is humble yet full of flavor.

Since it's eaten throughout the Arab world and beyond, you can imagine there are many variations; however the main ingredient in all of them is lentils. Some will use brown lentils and other green lentils.

 

The next main ingredient is your grain, some will use rice and others bulgur (cracked parboiled wheat).

 

Finally your last main ingredient is caramelized onions, which not only makes your kitchen smell amazing but adds the color and depth of flavor to the dish.

Beyond those three main ingredients, there are regional differences:

  • Sometimes meat is added for celebrations.

  • You can puree the lentils which gives the dish a different texture but same flavor.

  • Some top the dish with labneh (strained yogurt).

  • Others will add the caramelized onions on top while others will mix it in.

  • You can season with cumin, coriander or mint.

  • Some eat it hot, others cold.

Did you make the recipe? Comment below.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

For the Mujaddara

  • 1 cup uncooked small green lentils, rinsed

  • 4 cups water

  • 4 cups diced yellow onion

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or other neutral oil

  • 1 cup uncooked Jasmine Rice

  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

For the Salad

  • 1 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced cucumber

  • 1 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced tomato

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 3 minced garlic cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

Instructions

  1. Once the lentils are rinsed, place them in a small saucepan and add two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat for 10 - 12 minutes covered. Remove from the heat. They will not be completely cooked at this stage.

  2. In a large pan add the oil and heat on medium / medium high heat. Add the onions and salt, saute until caramelized, about 40 minutes. You want to ensure the onions get to a nice deep brown color since this is what will add the color and depth of flavor to the dish.

  3. Once the onions are done caramelizing, add two cups of water (slowly so it doesn't splatter). Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for two minutes. Add the cooked lentils, rice, cumin and a pinch of salt & pepper. Stir the mixture, cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes until the rice is fluffy. Give it good mix and set aside.

  4. For the refreshing cucumber salad: combine both the cucumber and tomato in a bowl. Mince the garlic and add to a pestle with salt (to taste) and pound until a smooth paste. Place the garlic paste in a small cup/bowl, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar and mint; mix well. Pour dressing over cucumber and tomato salad, mix and taste. Adjust as necessary.

  5. Place your individual mujaddara in a bowl, top with some of the cucumber tomato salad and scoop up with Syrian bread (thin Arabic pita). Sahten!

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