Tuesday, August 16, 2011


     Mjadra, Mujadarra,  مجدرة‎, and other variants in spelling are some of the several words used to describe variations of rice and lentil dishes found in Near to Middle East cuisine. I would like to draw your attention to the Lebanese rendition, Mjadra. I first had Mjadra at Nicholas Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I've had it since at other mediocre Lebanese / Mediterranean restaurants since but none has risen to the perfection of Nicholas'. After some research and experimentation I think I can safely say that my version comes close to what I remember Nicholas' version tasting like. Give it a try! This dish exemplifies what this blog is about: cheap and healthy eating. Lentils, Rice, Onions, Simple but a perfect way to get your lentil/brown rice protein in. Here we go: 


1/2 c. uncooked lentils
2 c. water
3 lg. white onions, julienned
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/8th teaspoon dried garlic (or use some minced fresh garlic, I don't see why not)
Salt to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cups cooked brown rice (or basmati for more of an authentic feel), (from about 1 cup dry)

1. Wash/rinse rice and cook (I like to throw in some salt and some oil (a tsp of each) for this dish). 

2. Place onions in a large frying pan with enough olive oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan. The goal here is to caramelize the onions. This can be achieved by slowly cooking them away on a medium low heat. This typically works well for me but I have seen more elaborate ways to caramelize onions these techniques will usually ask for you to add sugar, something that isn't necessary as the onions will release their own sugar. For this recipe you do not need to really add any salt in here as most caramelized recipes will call for. You'll know your onions are ready when they are brown and rather slimy.  

3. While the onions and rice are doing their thing, bring water and lentils to a boil, continue to boil for about 20 minutes or until the lentils have fully absorbed the water.

4. If everything is timed out right, you should be able to season the cooked lentils with cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and lemon juice right before throwing in the caramelized onions. If not just let things sit covered off the heat. 

5. Mix all ingredients well before topping the rice. Serve. Enjoy. 

1 comment:

  1. OMG. We live in Salem and go to Nicholas's when ever we're in Portland for a meal! This is my favorite dish! I was just googling how to pronounce it so I could order it on the phone (take out for a meal at a relative's house) And this came up. I'm dying to try it now!!