September 8, 2015

Mujadara [Mujaddara] | Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions + Spiced Yogurt Recipe

I forgot the count on how many times I wanted to try making Mujadara at home. All the cookbooks and blog posts I read had the same underlying theme - this dish is the essence of comfort food in the Middle Eastern cuisine. After making it at home, now I know why. There is this deep color and sweetness of caramelized onions tossed simply with rice & lentils, which makes a heady combination of flavors. Some recipes add cumin or allspice but for me just salt & pepper will do. To serve, it needs some heat and the spiced yogurt will provide the dish just enough kick along with some nice creaminess. I can go on and on, on easy it is to make and how this would make an amazing one-pot meal. I will stop here though because I want you to read and then make the recipe at home, to discover & know for yourself that what all I said here is absolutely true. :-)

Mujadara | Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions Spiced Yogurt Recipe

Lentils, made quickly in my beloved pressure cooker.

Mujadara | Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions Spiced Yogurt Recipe
Caramelizing the onions, the best part of this dish..

Mujadara | Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions Recipe 

Serves: 3-4

Recipe Adapted from Food52


For Mujadara:

1 cup whole black lentils
1 cup rice (I used basmati)
5 tbsp oil
3 medium sized onions, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
fresh coriander, chopped

For Spiced Yogurt:

1 cup thick yogurt (I used Greek)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
fresh mint, finely chopped
juice of half lemon


There are just four distinct steps for this recipe and each of them can be done simultaneously to save time -
Cook Lentils. 
Cook Rice. 
Caramelize Onions. 
Toss everything with salt and pepper. If you can, make this dish ahead and set aside for the flavors to develop. Just before serving, warm slightly and enjoy with spiced yogurt. 

Now for some detailed steps...

In a large pot, add lentils with 1/2 tsp salt and 4 cups of water. Let it come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins, until it is mushy. Drain and set aside. Alternatively, pressure cook lentils with same amount of water for 1 whistle. Let the pressure release naturally, drain the water.

While the lentils are simmering, cook rice with 1.5 cup of water. Use more water (1:2 proportions if using any other kind of white rice). Fluff and set aside. Instead on the stove top, I used my handy rice cooker for this step. 

In a wide pan, heat olive oil. One can also use a combination of butter and olive oil. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and add sliced onions. Stir. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. It helps the moisture to ooze out and slightly quicken the process. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the onions are soft and browned. The tip I learnt from the original recipe is to NOT to stir the onions more than twice. Let the bottom layer be charred and crisped. Add 1 tbsp of water if it is too dry. I didn't add anything. The entire process took about 20 minutes excluding the slicing. Trust me, this might seem time-consuming but oh-so-worth-it. Set aside the onions to cool a bit.

Finally, add lentils, rice, salt and pepper to the caramelized onions. I also added a handful of chopped coriander for freshness.

To make the yogurt, combine all the ingredients listed in a bowl. 

On a plate, serve Mujadara with a big scoop of spiced yogurt. No other accompaniments are needed.

Mujadara | Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions Spiced Yogurt Recipe
Toss and Serve

Mujadara | Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions Spiced Yogurt Recipe
Mujadara, ready to be devoured..
Sending this as an entry to My Legume Love Affair #87, this month guest hosted by Swathi. This event is currently managed by Lisa and originally conceptualized by Susan.


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until next recipe,


  1. This looks SUPER inviting. My kind of one pot meal - lentils, rice, curd.

    1. Thanks Re. :-) Aren't one-pot meals fuss-free and THE best.

  2. this looks wonderful. i have never had anything like this before but reminds me of shahjahani biryani i made a while back


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