Ah, the poor man’s dish mujaddara. It is commonly called that because of mujaddara is packed full of protein and probably the cheapest dish to make. All you need is an onion, rice, lentils, and some olive oil; so simple, yet so comforting. This is my go-to dish when I haven’t bought any groceries, because I always have these items in my pantry. I must admit it took me quite a few tries to make this right. The lentils were always too hard, or they turned to mush. I realized that soaking the lentils in hot water for a 10-15 minutes before cooking them with the rice makes a huge difference. Actually, soaking the lentils makes perfect mujaddara every time. Also, a really good quality olive oil transforms this dish. Every house makes mujaddara differently, so you will find many different variations of the recipe: proportions of rice to lentil, tomato paste put in with the rice and lentils, or even red chili flakes for an extra kick. But one thing is for certain – don’t skimp on the onions. You can never have too many, and the slow roasted flavor with a good quality olive oil makes all the difference. Feel free to experiment and make a mujaddara dish that your family will love.
Mother, Wife, Daughter, Lawyer, and Middle Eastern food enthusiast. Sharing my Egyptian American Muslim heritage.