OK I have entitled it Lebanese, but strictly speaking it is Middle Eastern and depending which area you happen upon, so the recipe and the name will be slightly different. Mejadara is ubiquitous and like pizza, all areas claim it as theirs, well now it can be yours.
It is very tasty and distinctly moreish. It is also very easy to produce and makes full use of the store cupboard and only needs fresh onions to put a meal on the table in about 40 minutes.
This a dish that cries out to be brought to the table on a serving dish, and you could enhance the appearance by sprinkling roughly torn coriander or parsley leaves across the top just before serving.
If you like this and start to make this on a frequent basis you could make a batch of Mejadara Spice and bottle it for future use.
Serves 4. Total time 40 minutes.
250 gm/ 8 oz/ 1 cup green or brown lentils
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar
200 gm/ 7 oz/ 1 scant cup basmati rice ( NB – cooking time in this recipe is for 15 minute rice)
350 ml/11 fl oz/1 1/4 cups hot water
Start off with the lentils as they will need the longest to cook. So put 2 tablespoons of oil in a 2 litre/ 3 pint saucepan, and gently saute the garlic for about 4 minutes.
Add the spices and stir them thoroughly for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the lentils and cover well with hot water. Bring to the boil and simmer with a lid on for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile finely slice the onions. In a large frying pan heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the gently saute the onions for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are caramelizing and turning golden brown. add more oil if needed. Sprinkle with enough salt to make them slightly salty to your taste.
Back to the lentils. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and taste. It should be slightly sweet to the taste. Add more if you prefer.
Add the rice and the rest of the water to the lentil mixture, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes check to ensure that there is sufficient water covering the rice. The idea is to complete the rice and reduce the water to almost nothing. Finish cooking without the lid on if necessary.
Stir half the onions into the rice and lentils. Serve onto the middle of hot plates. Serve the rest of the onions on top of the rice and lentil mixture.
You could also top it with several dessertspoons of yoghurt.