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5 from 4 votes

Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice (Mejadra)

This lentils and rice recipe makes a fragrant Middle Eastern comfort food. Make this aromatic dish for a flavorful side or meatless meal.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 6
Calories: 60kcal
Author: Kevin

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups green lentils
  • 4 medium onions (1 ½ lb before peeling)
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Clean and pick through lentils, removing any debris. Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils have softened but still have a little bite. Drain and set aside.
  • Peel the onions and slice thinly. Place on a large platter, sprinkle with the flour and 1 teaspoon salt, and toss to mix well with your hands.
  • Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed skillet placed over high heat. Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously. Reduce the heat to medium-high and carefully (it may spit!) add a quarter of the sliced onion. Fry for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until the onion takes on a nice golden brown color and turns crispy (adjust the temperature so the onion doesn’t fry too quickly and burn). Use tongs to transfer the onion to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little more salt. Repeat with the other three batches of onion.
  • Discard oil, leaving 2 tablespoons in skillet (See Note 1). Place over medium heat and toast the cumin and coriander seeds for a minute or two. Add the rice, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and then add the cooked lentils and the water. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, lift off the lid, and quickly cover the pan with a clean tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, add half the fried onion to the rice and lentils and stir gently with a fork. Pile the mixture in a shallow serving bowl and top with the rest of the onion.

Video

Notes

  1. I like to use the oil after frying the onions for added flavor, but you could discard and use 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Nutrition

Sodium: 393mg | Calcium: 44mg | Vitamin C: 6mg | Vitamin A: 9IU | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 143mg | Calories: 60kcal | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fat: 1g | Protein: 2g | Carbohydrates: 13g | Iron: 1mg