Mujadara – a gently spiced dish of rice and lentils served with caramelized onions – originated in Iraq, and is popular in different versions throughout the Middle East, especially in Jewish cuisine. This one has been adjusted, adding fresh herbs and jewel-like pomegranate seeds, but it is the caramelized onions that give the dish it’s signature flavor – don’t skimp on this slow cooking time (see tip); the rest of the dish comes together in just moments.
Spicy, Herby Two Pouch Mujadara [Vegan]
- 1 large red onion
- 1 large white onion
- 3 tablespoons light oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 250g (9oz) pouch brown basmati rice
- 250g (9oz) pouch or 400g (14oz) tin green lentils in water
- small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
- small handful of fresh coriander 60g (1/3 cup) pomegranate seeds
- Peel the onions and use a very sharp knife to slice them into half-moons as thinly as possible.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large casserole dish or non-stick frying pan. Add the onions, sea salt and cumin seeds and gently cook for 40 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized and have only just gone slightly brown.
- Stir the cinnamon into the onion mixture and fry for a further minute until fragrant.
- Break up the rice inside the pouch by gently squeezing it before opening it and tipping into the pan. If you can’t find green lentils in a pouch and you’re using tinned, drain these well before also adding them to the pan.
- Stir the rice and lentils until they’re well coated in the spices from the onions and heated through.
- Taste to see if you need to add a little more salt and remove from the heat.
- Roughly chop the herbs and stir them into the rice, along with the pomegranate seeds, just before serving.
To save time you can prepare the onions ahead, store them overnight in the fridge and add them to the pan when it is time to cook – just wait until they’re sizzling before you add the other ingredients.