A classic dish in Middle Eastern households, Mujadara is a nourishing main course suitable for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
To keep the recipe as true to its roots as possible, we recommend slicing the onions lengthwise, instead of crosswise, so they maintain their structure and absorb the complex flavors. Mujadara is best served with our homemade labneh, another Middle Eastern staple made from strained yogurt. For best results, use the highest fat yogurt you can find for a smooth consistency and depth.
How to Make It
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 onions, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup green or brown lentils
- 2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought labneh (recipe follows)
- Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
- For the mujadara, heat 3 tbsp oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and 1 ½ tsp salt. Season with pepper. Cook, stirring often to prevent scorching, until deep golden-brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, then set a third of fried onions aside for garnish.
- While onions cook, add lentils and 4 cups water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high, then cook until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain well, then add to pan with remaining onions.
- Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in the same pot over medium. Add cumin seeds and cook until sizzling and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, and remaining salt. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups water, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, still covered, and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Fluff rice with a fork, then gently fold in lentil-onion-mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl, then garnish with reserved onions. Serve with labneh.
- 1 ½ cup full-fat yogurt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Line a fine-mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth. Alternatively, you can use a flat-bottom coffee filter or a nut milk bag. Set your lined strainer over a bowl. Add yogurt, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until yogurt has lost most of its liquid, about 24 hours. You should have about 1 cup of strained yogurt.
- Transfer strained yogurt, lemon juice and salt to a bowl. Stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, if desired.
How to Store It
Mujadra gets more delicious with each day. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Refrigerate labneh in an airtight container up to 5 days.