A protein-packed side dish or vegetarian main, this humble dish of lentils and rice is topped with addictively delicious caramelized onions.
Isn’t it funny how the most simple and basic foods are the often ones we crave most regularly? M’Juddarah, a Lebanese side dish, is exactly that: nothing more than a humble yet satisfying bowl of lentils and rice topped with caramelized onions and maybe a dollop or two of plain yogurt. You can serve it warm, room temperature or cold out of the refrigerator.
M’Juddarah was a staple in my Great Aunt Vieve’s house throughout her entire 90+ years of life. She and her husband Mose owned four furniture stores in Terra Haute, Indiana where my she also worked as a secretary when she wasn’t home making multi-course Middle Eastern feasts for friends and family.
Aunt Vieve, pictured above with my little sister Anne circa 1993, not only taught me how to make the perfect platter of hummus but she also gave me the gift of learning how to properly dress a Lebanese salad.
In addition to keeping M’Juddarah on hand in her refrigerator to serve with dinner any night of the week, Aunt Vieve would often include it as one of the several homemade, from scratch Lebanese meals she prepared and delivered lovingly to her husband every day at work.
In other words, I want to be Aunt Vieve when I grow up.
Your fork is waiting.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1 3/4 cups lentils rinsed and sorted
- 1 cup rice white par-boiled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Heat oil in a deep sauce pot over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent and caramelized, 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add lentils and increase heat to medium-high. Toast lentils for 60 seconds then add 6 cups water. Bring pot to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are halfway cooked, about 15 minutes.
Add rice, salt and pepper to the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Stir once, cover with lid, then reduce heat to low. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Fluff lentils and rice with a fork before serving with caramelized onions. Serve with plain yogurt or Lebanese Cucumber Laban if you wish.