Mujadara: Lentils, Rice and Onions

by beth on March 10, 2010

After hav­ing Mujadara many times at local Mid­dle East­ern, par­tic­u­larly Lebanese, restau­rants my hus­band set off to learn how to make it him­self. It has since become one of our go to din­ners. It’s sim­ple, easy and trans­ports you to a far off land in one taste of this dish. I can feel the heat, smells the scents of spice mar­kets and hear the sounds of peo­ple walk­ing around through­out these lands that fil­ter through with each bite.

What you need

1 Cup Lentils
1 Cup Rice
3 1/2 Cups Water
4 Onions
1 Tea­spoon Cumin
1 Tea­spoon Salt
1/2 Tea­spoon Pep­per
2 Table­spoons Veg­etable Oil

Serves 4–6

How to put it together

Slice the onions. The onions should be sliced long, so they look like a rain­bow ver­sus diced into small pieces.

Heat pot on med-high heat. Add 1 Table­spoon of Veg­etable Oil and 1/2 an onion. Cook until onion is caramelized.

Add lentils, water, salt and pep­per. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and sim­mer for 20 minutes.

After 20 min­utes, add rice and 1 Tea­spoon Cumin. Cover and sim­mer for addi­tional 20 minutes.

Heat a fry­ing pan over med-high heat. Add the remain­ing 1 Table­spoon of Veg­etable Oil and remain­ing onions. Cook until fully caramelized and blackened.

Also, he used green lentils & yel­low onions for this dish.

We usu­ally serve our Mujadara with hum­mus & pita. Let me tell you it goes fast. And it is a great meal to have when you are look­ing for some­thing meat­less, easy, and delicious.

Are the any Mid­dle East­ern or Lebanese dishes that you enjoy?

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Messy@Bungalow'56 March 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

Thanks for the recipe. I’ll have to get my husband to try it. Men in the kitchen are real men.
Dana

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2 beth March 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I agree about men in the kitchen, something very manly about it.

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3 Roxie March 10, 2010 at 11:01 am

This looks interesting! Can I ask how you pronounce “mujadara”, and also what kind of lentils and onions you use? (Would red lentils and regular yellow onions work?)

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4 beth March 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I’ve always heard it pronounced “moou-jha-dar-rah” (roughly speaking)

My husband makes brown version with green lentils. He did use yellow onions because that is what we had on hand (it’s also how he was taught to make it), I have seen people use a sweet white onion too. And yep you can use red lentils but be careful because I have heard from some say the red lentils can get too soft although others have said they prefer red lentils.

That’s what makes this dish so wonderful is that you’ll see it vary by region in the world based on what people have available.

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5 beth March 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I also just updated the post to indicate the use of green lentils & yellow onions!

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6 Roxie June 21, 2010 at 3:32 am

I just wanted to update, that this recipe was DELISH! And now I want to just dive into Lebanese recipes. So good! And we have a Lebanese family in town that runs a doughnut shop and also sell Lebanese ingredients, so I feel so hooked up! LOL Thanks!

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7 Evan November 22, 2013 at 1:08 am

I’ve also heard “moo jed rah” and “moo jed dah rah”, but that may be colloquial to Lebanon and this dish is served all over the Middle East. Perhaps the most common pronunciations are “moo jahd rah” and “moo jah dah rah”, when using the four-syllable pronunciation, the last two syllables are pronounced in very rapid succession. This dish has at least six different spellings in English! (mujaddara, mujadarah, mejadra, moujadara, mudardara, and megadarra)

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8 branny March 10, 2010 at 11:22 am

Such a simple yet delicious meal

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9 beth March 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Yes, it is a very simple & delicious dish. It is also very inexpensive.

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10 outoftheoven March 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Mujadara is one of my favorite dishes – I can’t wait to try my hand at making it at home!

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11 Megan March 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I love how simple this recipe is-I bet it tastes so delicious with all those spices! YUM, I am looking forward to trying this out!

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12 Trudy (veggie num num) March 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Such a simple, but I bet, very tasty dish.. rice and lentils with spices YUM!!

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13 Adrian March 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm

We just made this! We used 1/2 red lentils and 1/2 green lentils and I think that gave an ideal texture. The give and ‘throughout’ flavour of red lentils (as some of them completely mushed up and permeated the dish – some stayed more whole), plus the bite of the green lentils. Followed cooking times as listed. We are huge cumin fans so this is a hit. For me, it would go great with an Indian curry-gravy dish, which would also up the heat (and on that front, I recc http://www.ecurry.com another cool blog out there on the cooking front…I just bumped into it the same way I bumped into this blog!).

Thank you for sharing, we will be making this inexpensive, yummy and healthy meal again.

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14 D March 16, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I would like to make this using brown rice. How would you change the cooking direction for brown rice?

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15 Chris June 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Add the brown rice at the same time as the lentils. Cook for 45-50 minutes.

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16 Soma March 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm

This is a beautiful dish. Love your pictures.

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17 Marisa June 17, 2010 at 8:52 am

Love love love this! Have made it twice in the past week and a half. Thanks for introducing me to this fantastic dish. I add some crushed mustard seeds to mine – it really amps up the flavour.

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18 Anne September 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

Growing up with a lebanese grandmother this dish has been a stable my whole life. Having moved away from home and to a city with much fewer arabic groceries, I have been looking for a good moujadarah recipe for a while! I especially love how many onions you put, always my favourite part.

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19 Anne September 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

P.S.

You asked for other dishes we enjoy, here ya go!

Fatouche (salad much yummier than the well known tabbouleh)

Kibbe (traditionall meat filled but there are some delishious veggie versions being made now)

Spinach Fatayer

All the above plus moujadarah seriously just described our “moms too tired to cook so shes unfreezing lebanese food YAY” dinner.

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20 Susan September 25, 2010 at 5:34 pm

My family loves lentils, and this sounds like a yummy new way to fix them. I’m assuming I should add the remaining three and a half onions to the mix after thoroughly caramelizing them; is that right?

Thanks for the recipe!

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21 Alyssa Moore October 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm

As a graduate student, my budget is rather limited, so I absolutely loved this recipe because it’s delicious, healthy, and inexpensive, and the leftovers only get better! The cumin makes all the difference in the flavor. Thanks for a great recipe!

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22 AJ November 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm

You can also make this with ground beef. You just fry the beef with the onions, add allspice and cinnamon to it along with the pepper and salt, and then once it’s sufficiently fried with the onions you add the water, boil it, add the lentils and proceed exactly as the recipe says.

It’s pretty amazing to eat. Especially with Arabic bread, pickles, and more onions fried or otherwise.

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23 Mona January 4, 2011 at 3:58 am

Hi, my mom, who is Middle Eastern, starts this dish by caramelizing (not burning) the 4 onions then adding the lentils and water and after 20 minutes either rice or burgul (crushed wheat). The idea is that the lentils and either rice or burgul will absorb the flavor and color from the onions. She also serves this dish with plain yogurt (yum!) and a simple salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing that you can mix with the yogurt and lentils. Sounds weird but the mix is unbelievably good, I promise, it’s like the perfect bite of food.

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24 Christine February 13, 2011 at 11:15 am

If you cook the lentils in vegetable broth instead of water it gives it a very rich flavor.

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25 Terry February 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Great recipe. I am tempted to add chopped baby spinach… Any thoughts?

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26 B February 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I first cooked this recipe 25 years ago when I stopped eating meat. The version I used most was found in an ancient Vegie Times mag. It may not be traditional but it is good.
Mostly the same but with two changes: Use whole cumin seed and fry it up in the oil before you start carmelizing the onions and second, add some fresh spinach when you fold everything together at the end. I also sometimes use Ghee for my oil because of the high burn point. It adds to the calories though.

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27 Seth March 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Whoa, especially good with a big can of roasted, crushed tomatoes…

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28 Jenny March 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

How many people should this recipe serve? I need to get an idea so I know how much more to make, if necessary.

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29 beth April 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

4-6 full servings, although if you serve with hummus & pita and/or a fattoush salad you could probably stretch it farther.

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30 canamera July 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Lebanon is not in the desert!

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31 Lucy November 3, 2011 at 7:51 am

WOWSERS! So delicious! I made some modifications based on what I had on-hand. I used chicken broth instead of water, and I used sumac* in the place of cumin, and added also the juice of an entire lemon as well. Holy smokes this is delicious – and even tastes amazing cold, too!

*of course of the Rhus strain variety, not the poison sumac variety! ;-)

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32 Ian June 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Hi! I know this is an older recipe but just curious, could you substitute Quinoa for rice? Thanks!!

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33 Maya August 24, 2012 at 6:29 am

Finally a receipe for the real mujadara, thank you! I wanted to make it today but I found all kind of receipes, with yogurt, with chili…but no real and simple mujadara. It came out perfect!

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34 Jen March 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm

When I married my husband, this one was one of the first dishes that my mother-in-law taught me how to make. It is definitely a favorite. We make a salad of diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions tossed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. The different textures make it such a delicious meal!

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35 TJ January 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Great recipe! I have made it twice – both times with brown rice. The second time I made it, I grabbed the curry instead of the cumin by accident. It was wonderful – even if it was an oops! I will make it again – both ways!

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