Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Mujaddara.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

For me, food will always mean more than just taste.
It's a way of reconnecting with a moment in the past. And there'll always be certain dishes that I'll associate with certain times of the year.

Like scones. The mere mention of them always brings to mind, April and Spring. When daffodils are at their peak and rain showers come in equal proportion with blue skied days. Scones mean Sunday tea, homemade jam and cream, a chance to slow down, and savour each bite.

And speaking of Sunday, I actually first made Mujaddara, this dish of rice and green lentils, on a Monday.

It was delicous enough, the soft rice complimented well with the more textured lentils, and the fried onions, oh the fried onions. Let's just say a lot more were eaten in the cooking process than on the finished plate. It didn't really suit Monday, though. Monday is busy, rushed, usually late and this dish is anything but.

But this time, to show all of you, I made Mujaddara on a Sunday afternoon, when the skies were grey and heavy with rain, the wind howled all around the house, and brought with it frequent flurries of rain. And then I realised, this was the perfect meal for Sundays. The day that always begins lazily, with everyone happy in the knowledge that this is a day of rest. A day of endless spiced tea and coffee, breakfasts that run through until one, and lunch which begins at four. A sort of upside down day where even the birds are quiet, and so are the roads. Where baking is usually necessary, and screens are few and far between. 

This is the perfect dish for a Sunday when pottering around in the kitchen. It doesn't require a trip to the shops, is completely vegetarian and yet will satisfy the biggest meat eater. A lazy, but relatively quick dish with few ingredients - I hope you make it part of your Sunday this week.

{A hungry man would be willing to sell his soul for a dish of mujaddara}

Previously: Vegetarian Recipes.
Previously: Rice Recipes.

A Simple List of Ingredients:

1. Basmati Rice
2. Butter
3. Green Lentils
4. Onions
5. Salt and Pepper
6. Rapeseed Oil
7. Water
8. Plain Flour
9. Vegetable Oil

Bismillah, let's begin!

First job, wash and soak the rice.

Into a bowl, place 250 grams Basmati Rice.

We're going to wash the rice a few times. You see all that cloudy water? That's starch and by rinsing, we'll be getting rid of most of it.

So, I washed the rice about 5-6 times, changing the water each time until the water was less cloudy.

Cover the rice with water, and let it soak until we need it.

Next, the onions. These are a major part of the mujaddara. They bring a lot of the flavour to the rice and later, we'll be frying more until crispy for the garnish.

So, take 3 Onions and peel them.

Slice each one in half, and then thinly slice.

Oh my days. These onions were so strong. I literally had to leave the kitchen every few minutes to get my eyes back.

Once they're all sliced and you've had a good old cry too, it's time to gently fry them.

In a pan, heat up 2 tablespoons Rapeseed (or olive) Oil over a lowish heat.

Throw in the sliced onions.

Give them a stir around.


Then, take 1 teaspoon Salt.


And, add it in.


Stir, and then let the onions fry gently for 15-20 minutes until golden. I like to cover them until they're soft and then uncover, and let them go golden.


Meanwhile, it's time to rinse our green lentils. I must admit, I was slightly weary of using green lentils because they're not something I've cooked with often. But, they were just right in this recipe, and so they should be, this dish has been made in the Middle East for forever.



Another reason I like working with green lentils is because they're so pretty.


Anyway, while the onions are gently frying, measure out 150 grams Green Lentils and give them a rinse.


Put them into a deep saucepan.


Measure out 1 litre Cold Water.


And, pour it on in.


Place it on a high heat and let it come to a boil.


Be sure to give the onions a stir too now and again.


Once boiling ...


.. set a timer for 10 minutes and let the lentils cook.


Keep the lentils on the same high heat - don't turn it down.


By now, the onions should be done.


So, drain the rice.


And, add it in.


Along with 1/2 teaspoon Salt and 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper.


And, some butter! Because butter makes everything better!


Add in 25 grams Butter.


Stir everything together.


Stir for 2-3 minutes, and take off the heat when the rice begins to catch on the bottom and crisp up slightly.


At this point, the lentils should have had their 10 minutes.


Pour all the rice into the lentil pan.


Once the rice is in, give it a gentle stir.


And, pour in 1/2 pint Water.


Stir once more.


Turn the heat up and bring to the boil.


Cover and turn the heat right down. Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.


While the rice cooks, make the fried onions.


Peel 2 large Onions.


Slice them thinly or slice them into rings. I've tried both in the past and both work fine.


Add a pinch each of Salt and Black Pepper.


Sprinkle in 3 tablespoons Plain Flour.


Stir together - the onions should only have a very light coating of flour.


Heat a thick layer of Vegetable Oil in a frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the onions in small batches.


Fry the onions until golden.


Place the onions onto paper towels to drain - they will crisp up as the cool. Keep frying all the onions until you're done.


At this point, the rice should be done. It's done when all the water has been absorbed and the rice is soft.


Cover the pan again and let the rice sit for 10-15 minutes.


While the rice sits, make a quick salad. Mix together diced tomatoes, diced cucumber, salt and pepper.


Then, fluff up the rice and it's time to eat!


Pile the rice onto a platter and sprinkle over the fried onions.


Grab your rice, salad and green yoghurt chutney.


Grab a bowl and dig in!

Full Written Recipe:


Mujaddara

Prep Time: About 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 40 minutes
Serves: About 6 people

Ingredients

For the Lentil Rice
2 tablespoons Rapeseed Oil
3 Onions, peeled, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon Salt
1 litre + ½ pint Cold Water
150 grams Green Lentils
250 grams Basmati Rice
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
25 grams Butter

For the Crispy Onions
2 large Onions, peeled and cut into rings or slices
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
3 tablespoons Plain Flour
Vegetable Oil, to fry

Salad
Cucumber, diced
Tomatoes, diced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

To Serve
Green Yoghurt Chutney

Method

For the lentil rice, wash the basmati rice a few times, and soak in water.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Put in the sliced onions along with 1 teaspoon salt. Gently fine the onions for 15-20 minutes until they start to go golden.

Meanwhile, rinse the green lentils. Place into a large pan with 1 litre cold water. Place on a high heat bring to the boil. Then, set a timer for 10 minutes and let the lentils cook. Don’t turn the heat down.

By now, the onions should be done. Add in the rice, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper and butter. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat when the rice begins to catch on the bottom and crisps up slightly.

At this point, the lentils should have had 10 minutes. Add the rice mixture to the lentils along with ½ pint water.

Stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the rice cook for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the crispy onions. Heat a thick layer of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Stir the onions, plain flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl.

Fry the onion slices in small batches until golden. Place on paper towels and let them cool – they will crisp up as they cool.

Make the salad and mix the green yoghurt chutney. Garnish the rice with the crispy onions and serve!

{Adapted from The Honey & Co. Cookbook}

This Time One Year Ago:


This Time Two Years Ago:


Keep me in your duas, please, and enjoy your Mujaddara,

Wasalaam!

8 comments

  1. Wa alaykum asalaam wa rahmatullah wa baarakatuhu, no word of a lie I was looking up a recipe for this dish today as I want to try it soon as I've heard alot about the dish. Will let you know how it goes once I try your recipe in shaa Allah jazaaki Allahu khayran

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it = it's veggie, comforting and really easy to make.

      Delete
  2. Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah wabarakathuhu... seriously, I have been wondering what to cook for tomorrow lunch as we will be going outskirts to stay and wanted something that could be done in a jiffy... looking at this and considering that I already have pack of green lentils in my pantry, I surely must make this! InShaAllah, will try...

    ReplyDelete
  3. This reminds me of the Pakistani dish khicheri, which I love! Will certainly be trying this out soon, as well as your coconut ice recipe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy it Fatima - it's so simple yet so good!

      Delete
  4. Assalamu alaykum :)
    I tried this today and I loved it! Jazaakillah khair �� ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wasalaam Aisha! I'm so happy that you tried and loved this recipe - I hope it becomes a family favourite.

      Delete

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