Inspired by a wonderful Mujaddara from a Lebanese restaurant in Troy, New York, we set out to find out how to make the dish at home. Luckily, we found a good recipe in the interesting Arab Cooking on a Saskatchewan Homestead, by Habeeb Salloum (published by the University of Regina, 2005). The secret to this terrific dish for lentil lovers is the enormous quantity of fried onions. We have found that adding a cup of turnip gratin to the finished dish makes it even better!
Here is the revised recipe:
Wash one cup of regular lentils (the inexpensive kind found in any grocery store), and put them in a pan with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat of 15 minutes, then add 1/4 cup white rice , cover and cook another 20 minutes until both the lentils and the rice are cooked.
Melt 2 Tablespoons of ghee (or butter), but ghee is better, in a frying pan and fry 3 thinly sliced big spanish onions for 10 minutes, stirring, until they are golden brown. (The original recipe called for an alarming 6 Tablespoons of butter for this process.) Do not use vidalia or sweet onions for this – they do not break down or brown in the same way as spanish onions.
Stir the fried onions in to the cooked lentils, then add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon hot New Mexico chili powder. If you have an extra cup of turnip gratin, add that as well.
Stir everything well, and serve hot with yogurt (add a clove of grated garlic to make a sauce) and salad.
Make sure all your ingredients are gluten free.1