Wednesday, 2 December 2015


This dish of rice and brown lentils, with fried onions, is found in most Middle Eastern countries, most often called mujadara (and other spelling variations). I think the proportions of rice and lentils varies from place to place, and also how well the onions are fried - some recipes garnish with crispy onions.

I have one book of traditional Middle Eastern recipes - The Complete Middle East Cookbook, by Tess Mallos - and her section on recipes from the Gulf States calls this dish Muaddas. The recipe uses 1 part lentils to 4 parts rice, plus a large onion. I scaled down the recipe to serve two, so probably used a little more onion than in the recipe. The idea is to fry the onions until just beginning to colour, stir in the raw long-grain rice and lentils then add double the amount of water and some salt, and cook until the water is absorbed and the grains cooked - the recipe suggests about 45 minutes. Because I was using basmati rice, which cooks much faster than the lentils, I part-cooked them first, which reduced the cooking time to 20 minutes.

I served a vaguely Middle Eastern vegetable casserole with the Muaddas, flavoured with the spice mix Baharat, garlic, ginger and chilli. Muaddas made a nice change from plain rice, but it wasn't anything special - I expected the fried onions to add more flavour.

I made this dish for the season finale of the Formula 1 Foods challenge on Caroline Makes, as I needed a recipe from the United Arab Emirates to celebrate the last race taking place in Abu Dhabi. I would have liked to find a dessert or sweetmeat to make, but many traditional recipes from that part of the world rely on yeast doughs and/or deep frying, neither of which I wanted to tackle. I am pleased that I've stuck with this challenge until the end - I think I missed out a couple of rounds when totally lacking in inspiration, but produced something most of the time!

1 comment:

Caroline Muspratt said...

Thanks for being so good at taking part in Formula 1 Foods, I hope you've enjoyed the challenge - I've certainly enjoyed seeing what you've made!