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Mejadra (Rice with Lentils)

November 15, 2011

This makes a good side dish or vegetarian main dish. It’s very similar to Egyptian “Kusherie” but it doesn’t have a tomato sauce.  The fried onions and side of plain yogurt are very important to this dish. It won’t be as good without them.

Lentils and Rice

1/2 cup brown lentils
1 cup rice
olive oil
2 large onions, one chopped, one sliced
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
plain yogurt, for serving

Rinse the lentils. Cook in water until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion until golden. Add the lentils, cumin, and some salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir fry for a few minutes, until opaque.

Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water, bring it all to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minuets. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cover for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with fried onions (see below) and serve with plain yogurt.

Fried Onion Topping:
Once you get the rice cooking, start frying the onions. The trick is to cook them slowly so they have lots of flavor. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium or medium-low heat. Add the sliced onion. Slowly cook the onion until brown and crisp (you may need to increase the heat at the end to make it crispy). Add a little salt towards the end too.

Adapted from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur

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