Mujadara is a Middle Eastern lentil rice dish served with flavorful caramelized onions that were fried in olive oil. This simple dish is naturally vegan, made with just pantry ingredients so it's incredibly frugal, and it's ready in just 30 minutes!
1 cup(175 grams)long or short grain riceI use basmati
⅛teaspoonground black pepper
For the caramelized onions
3mediumyellow onionssliced into half-moons 1/5 inch thickness
Soak the rice in water, and wash the lentils.
Add the lentils to a pot, cover with water (for 1 cup of lentils, add 3 cups of water). Season with ground cumin and baharat if using, and throw in a couple of bay leaves.
Cover the pot with a lid, bring to boil and simmer for 5-15 minutes. The time varies depending on what kind of lentils you're using, so you have to keep checking every 5 minutes until the lentils are almost cooked but still firm.
When the lentils are looking fine, add the rinsed and drained rice, and add more water just to cover the rice (I can't give you the exact measurement as it depends on how much of the water evaporated as you cooked the lentils, so use your best judgment - I needed to add just ½ cup of water).
Season with salt, and pepper. Cover with the lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest possible and cook for 10-12 minutes.
In the meantime, caramelize the onions (see instructions below).
Remove the lid, and check if all of the water has evaporated, and that the rice is cooked. If it needs to cook further, add a splash of water and cook for longer.
When the mujadara is done, remove the lid, give it a quick stir then stir in half of the caramelized onions. Keep the rest of the onions for serving.
To caramelize the onions
To a skillet or a non-stick pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat it on medium heat, then add the onions. Fry them for 10-15 minutes or until the onions have lost their structure, got a caramel color, and started crisping up slightly.
You have to be super patient, and not step away from the stove. Keep stirring regularly so that the onion slices are cooked evenly.
Instant Pot method
Rinse the lentils, and add them to the Instant Pot stainless steel insert with 2 cups of water, season with ground cumin and baharat if using, and throw in a couple of bay leaves. Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 2 minutes at high pressure, when cooking time ends quickly release the steam.
Remove the lid and add the rinsed and drained rice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add water just to cover the rice and lentils (not more!).
Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 4 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take around 6-7 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking.
When the cooking program ends, allow the steam to be naturally released for 15 minutes, then release the rest of the steam manually. Carefully remove the lid, fluff with a fork and mix in the caramelized onions.
Use dried brown or green lentils to make mujadara. Puy or red lentils do not work in this dish.
You can use coarse bulgur instead of rice, and it is cooked the same way.
You can add toasted vermicelli to the rice if desired.
Use high-quality olive oil in this recipe. It will give you an authentic taste of mujadara.
Make sure not to overcook the lentils before adding the rice to the pot as they will become mushy.
Taste the mujadara at the end and adjust the salt level if desired.