More comfort food .... Middle Eastern Mujadarra


Mujadarra is a simple comforting food.  Frequently it is made with no seasoning other than salt, pepper and the sweetness of piles of caramelized onions.  I like mine with a little seasoning - it is still delicately flavored but all the more lovely and fragrant with the addition of the spices.
The trick is to time the lentils and the rice to be ready at the same time.  There are two easy ways to ensure they are just right. The first method is to use rice and lentils that cook at about the same rate - such as red lentils and white basmati rice.  The second easy method is to simply cook the lentils and the rice separately until they reach the desired doneness then drain and combine them together with the onions and seasoning. I strongly recommend this - especially if you are not very familiar with the cooking times of the ingredients.  If you happen to be familiar with the lentils and rice you can cook them together. Lentils are difficult to time frequently as the older they are the longer they take to cook so ... it is probably best to cook them separately. Having said that I happen to cook mine together ...  Use your favorite lentils and your favorite rice and you will be sure to start off on the right foot and finish there to.  Some people like to use a soft rice like basmati.  Others like a brown rice for its healthy makeup and chewy texture.  Most recipes use regular long grain rice.  My favorite is a hearty firm rice so I use converted white rice. It is hearty, the grains are  large and it retains it's shape and firm texture and cooks in 15 - 20 mins.  There is a Mujadarra to suit everyone, so just use your favorite rice and your favorite lentils to make it exactly the way you want it.  Now that is comfort food.

1 c. green lentils
1 c. converted long grain rice
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 large red onion, thinly sliced.
3/4 tsp gr. allspice
3/4 tsp gr. cinnamon
3/4 tsp cumin seed, smacked up roughly with knife
1 tsp salt to start
1/4 tsp black pepper

Fry the yellow onions in 1 tsp oil over medium heat until caramelized. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, salt & pepper. Put aside.
Rinse rice and lentils well and cook each separately until done then combine ( OR rinse lentils until water runs clear. Bring lentils in 3 c. water to a boil; then turn down to medium low and cook 20 mins. Remove from heat and set aside. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Add to lentils and bring to medium low heat.  Cover & cook for about 20 mins until almost done adding more water as necessary as it cooks. You still want a bit of bite to the lentils and rice. Remove from heat.
Add the caramelized onions with the spices & salt & pepper. Stir & let sit.
Fry the red onion in 1 tsp oil over med. heat, stirring frequently until caramelized with lots of darker, almost burnt bits. Taste & add more salt & pepper to taste.  Sprinkle fried onions over Mujadarra plus a little chopped parsley for colour & serve.

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