In Arabic the word mujaddara means ‘small pox’, which in this dish refers to the speckled appearance of lentils among rice. Traditionally mujaddara is made by boiling rice, lentils and fried onions together, until the water has been absorbed. Usually I too cook mujaddara in the way of the traditionalist, but this is real life and after work the last thing I want to do is wait for lentils to boil.
So what’s a girl like me to do? Mujaddara is afterall one of my favourite dishes; I mean rice and lentils with a hint of cumin, jewelled with crispy slithers of sweet onion – how could you go wrong? So I cut a few corners, and jazzed it up a bit with my two all-time fave ingredients (wild guess, anyone?), resulting in a delicious albeit unconventional mujaddara. After work dinner dilemma solved.
- 100g canned lentils, drained
- 200g leftover/cooked basmati rice
- 1 medium white onion, sliced in half and then into thin rings
- Olive oil – I have recently been using Palestinian, it’s incredible.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 50g feta cheese
- Small bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan and add the onions. Fry for around 7-10 minutes or until crispy. You can also cook the onions a little less if you prefer them a bit softer, this part is up to you, as long as they’ve browned you’re good to go.
Remove the onion from the pan and set aside on absorbant paper. Make sure to reserve a tablespoon or so of the cooking oil in the pan.
Add your cooked rice and lentils to the frying pan and heat gently, coating with oil. Add the cumin and season with salt and pepper. Lastly stir through half of the onions.
To serve, garnish with the rest of the onions, mint and crumbled feta.
Serves 1, or 2 as a side dish.