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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lentil, Rice, and Onion Pilaf

Over at Tasty Kitchen, I came across this recipe for Mujadara: Rice, Lentils, and Caramelized Onions. I hadn't ever heard of Mujadara, but I had all the necessary ingredients on hand and the dish sounded good. In case you were also wondering, Mujadara is just what the title indicates: cooked lentils, onions, and either rice, wheat, or groats. I have also been craving some beans lately (it's been over a month since our January soup marathon). Of course, I couldn't just follow the recipe exactly, so here is my take:

6 medium yellow onions
2 cups lentils
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
7 cups water
2 cups brown rice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Olive oil

1. Cut one onion in half, then slice into half-moon shapes.
2. Sauté the onion in some olive oil until it caramelizes (softens and turns brown).
3. Add the lentils, pepper, and water to the pot and bring it to a boil.
4. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Add the rice and cumin. Simmer for an additional 45 minutes (brown rice takes longer to cook. White rice would be done in 20 minutes).
6. While waiting for the pot to boil, slice the remaining onions into half-moon shapes. Place them in a separate sauté pan and caramelize until they are golden brown.

If you can stand cutting all the onions, the smell of them cooking is wonderful. Not to mention the aroma when the cumin was added to the pilaf. The end result was delicious, economical, and vegetarian. We ate it with a dollop of Mediterranean Labne Kefir cheese, which was a nice contrast to the cumin.

I doubled the amount of lentils/peas and rice from the original recipe and we finished it within a day. It may have been even better the 2nd day - my husband even ate it cold.


Candace said...

I am going to try this one! When I add the lentils and rice, are they both hard at this point? Or am i supposed to put softened lentils & cooked rice?

Michelle said...

re: Candace -- yes, the lentils and rice are both dry when added to the recipe. It's what makes it fairly easy to make.

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