Friday, April 29, 2016


Another recipe I made for my "Jerusalem" inspired Passover. Ottolenghi and Tamimi describe it as one of their most loved dishes, and the ultimate comfort food. I quite liked my adaptation, too. I doubled it and used -- the horror, I know!-- prepared fried onions. But last year I tried to fry some shallots and experienced an oil-fire fire ball in my kitchen. It extinguished quickly and didn't hurt anything, but it was big and scary enough that I had time enough to think, "well, this is how it ends. This is how I burn my house down."

Anyway, traumatized from the shallots, I just bought a big plastic jar of French's fried onions. And you know what? I liked it. I might add more next time.

Although, I could simply saute/caramelize some onions instead. That would be easy and delicious.

On a more interesting note, the tradition behind this dish is that it is descended from Esau's pottage; some communities even call it "Esau's favorite." Since Esau is MY favorite (my whole Sunday School class knows this), I ought to like this dish.

The name, variously spelled mujaddara, mejadra, moujadara, mudarda, and megadarra, means "pockmarked" which we're told refers to the lentils pockmarking the rice.


1 1/4 c green or brown lentils

fried onions (recipe calls for 700g onion; 3 T AP flour; 1 c oil; fry thin slices 5-7 min)

2 t cumin seeds-- I ran out the day before, so used ground cumin
1 1/2 T coriander seeds-- loved the flavor but was a wimp about the texture. I'd use ground next time
1 c basmati rice
2 T olive oil
1/2 t ground turmeric
1 1/2 t ground allspice
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t sugar
1 1/2 c water
salt, pepper

Can be served with, if you are doing dairy:
thick yogurt OR melted butter

Place lentils in small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, boil, and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the lentils have softened but still have a little bite. Drain, set aside.

Fry onions, in batches, if you're doing that.

Toast cumin and coriander over medium heat a minute or two. Add rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, 1/2 t salt, and plenty of pepper. Stir to coat rice with oil, and then add the cooked lentils and the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over very low heat 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, lift off the lid, quickly cover with a clean tea towel, and seal tightly with the lid. Set aside 10 minutes.

Finally, add 1/2 the fried onion to the rice and lentils and stir gently. Adjust seasoning. Serve with the rest of the onions piled on top.

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