Many a weekday nights, simple dinner is what we mostly go for. It is filling and nutritious. A perfect solution to most of these situations is the lentils and grain combination of some sort. Most cuisines have perfected this combination with a collection of recipes. The Mujaddara is one such recipe which came from the big influence of Arabian nights to us.
The Arabian night connection
The younger one loves to still listen to Arabian night stories.
Setting up the mezze, hiding in the tepee and reading stories was one of the favourite activities of my kids when they were smaller. She loved the idea of the magic carpet, Adored the little money and overall just lived in that story as a child. This prompted me to explore simple recipes that reflected the region.
Combined with my dream of visiting Morroco, the love for the cuisine slowly developed. Very often the comfort of mujaddara was in the fact that we could continue the storytime with least interruption to our storytime as it if one pot, quick and wholesome.
I also love the idea of the carpet spread on the floor and a huge plate of food to share with a large number of mezze style bowls and things and to be seated on the floor and eat with our fingers. Pretty much similar to what we do back home too.
In addition, the similarity between the spices used like cumin, cinnamon, cloves and saffron create a feeling of being back in connection with my roots too.
Now back to Story time
Have you heard the story of the “Little hunchbacked man?” That’s the best story that I love to read to my kids, for I feel it teaches to be human over religion and to come forth with the truth, however bitter it may be. they liked this as much as the like the Rumplestiltskin. Now that they are older they like to read it for themselves. That gives me ample time to write to you about the Mujaddara. Hope you enjoy the recipe and let me know your favourite reads. Somehow, I still love reading these as they are memories for me.
Here are some leads for one-pot meals made under 30 minutes which is perfect in a pressure cooker or instant pot.
This post has been updated with renewed content and images. not much changes to the original recipe, but have added notes of the meal-prep and instant pot versions. This recipe is added to the collection from Foodies_redoingoldposts, where we bloggers create an environment to update and bring you, readers, the best from our further upgrades to the recipe. Hope ypu like it.
the middle eastern lentil rice
- 1 cup rice long grain or brown rice
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- salt to taste
- 2-3 cloves
for the topping
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium Onion yellow variety
- a pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- Wash and soak the lentils in a bowl for about 30 minutes
- Peel and slice thin the yellow onion and set aside
- In a small flat pan add 1 tsp of olive oil and the sliced onion.
- Roast the onion on a slow heat, as it starts browning add a pinch of salt and a few cumin seeds. Once it is well caramelized, remove from heat and set aside.
- Wash the rice and keep aside
- Into a heavy pan/ pressure cooker / instapot add the olive oil, followed by the cumin seeds and cloves
- As the cloves and cumin become aromatic, drain and add the lentils and rice and saute for a minute.
- Add 3 cups of water if using the pressure cooker.
- Add salt and mix well.
- Pressure cook for 3 whistles or for 10 minutes on medium
- Remove from heat. Open when the pressure is released naturally and fluff the rice
- Serve hot topped with the roasted onion and with a dollop of tzatziki and marinated olives.
To make this in the instant pot It is best to soak the lentils for 30 minutes so the rice and lentils cook evenly in the instant pot. it takes 6 minutes on high with natural pressure release for the recipe to be perfect To meal prep Mujaddara stays well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Personally, I do find it easier to make it fresh than freezing this recipe as it does not thaw evenly and I am not fon of the rice texture when thawed.
Calories: 490kcalCarbohydrates: 90gProtein: 18gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 202mgPotassium: 678mgFiber: 23gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!