Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

December 30, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: During my time living in Israel, my favorite place for upscale-ish dining was an unassuming neighborhood joint that put modern spins on traditional dishes. Their take on mujaddara was actually pretty traditional -- jasmine rice, lentils, loads of caramelized onions -- but they topped it all with a cumin-spiked spiced yogurt that was out of this world. I've tried to replicate it here. I've also substituted puy lentils for the traditional green lentils, as they hold their shape better. One last note: I've found that mujaddara improves with age, as the flavors blend together. - RivkaRivka

Food52 Review: Rumor has it that Mujaddara is not only good, but good for you too (apparently, the combination of lentils, onions and yogurt wields near magical powers -- especially for women). Whatever its health properties, we love the varying textures and flavors: crisp, sweet onions tangle with fluffy jasmine rice and tiny, plump French lentils that burst happily in your mouth; the minted spiced yogurt adds zip and simultaneously ties everything together. Rivka's nuanced dish is a meal all its own, and its fragrance lingers long after you've taken the last bite. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 15 min

Ingredients

For the Mujaddara

  • 3/4 cup Puy lentils (aka French lentils, the tiny dark brown ones)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups onions (about 3 medium onions), halved and thinly sliced

For the yogurt

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (freshly ground, if possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon spicy paprika or aleppo pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer lentils until soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. Rinse pot.
  3. Add rice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water to the pot, set over medium heat, and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 17 minutes (the tried-and-true Amanda Hesser method!) until perfectly cooked. Remove from oven, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  4. While rice cooks, set a wide, deep saute pan over medium-low heat and add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter has mostly melted, add onions and toss to incorporate with butter and oil.
  5. After 5 minutes, onions will have softened slightly and started to release their liquid. Raise heat to medium and cook 10 to 12 minutes more, until onions are very soft and browned. Add water by the tablespoon if pan gets too dry or if onions start to stick. When onions are well browned, add last tablespoon of olive oil and raise heat to high. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until bottom layer of onions has charred and crisped; try not to stir too much, or onions won't crisp up.
  6. Combine rice, lentils, and most of the onions in large serving bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes, to marry the flavors together. (Truth be told, this dish improves with age.) Taste, and add more onions if desired. Meanwhile, make the yogurt: mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. (Yes, it's really that simple.)
  7. If mujaddara has cooled significantly, reheat in a low oven or even in the microwave for a couple minutes. To serve, plate a big scoop of mujaddara and top with a dollop of yogurt.

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Bean|Grains|Yogurt|Vegetarian|Gluten-Free|Entree

Reviews (287) Questions (7)

287 Reviews

patrick September 23, 2016
Yumm i am going to try this. I made ottolenghis version which was quite good!
 
patrick December 8, 2016
heres how mine turned out, loved this! http://wp.me/p7IPNM-BK
 
Alice September 6, 2016
Can I use Spanish pardina lentils instead? The only brown lentils I saw at the store were the pardina. Otherwise there were French green, and some green/marbled I now believe are puy, but just weren't labeled as such.
 
insecureepicure September 6, 2016
I think you can use any brown lentil. I haven't made this in a while thanks for reminding me
 
NotTooSweet April 29, 2016
Oops - my comment below mentioned pistachios by mistake. Obviously there are no nuts in this recipe (although they might be delightful). I also made a shaved asparagus salad from this site that has pistachios in it. I got the two recipe comments a bit confused. The salad was also delicious!
 
NotTooSweet April 29, 2016
Just made this last night and needed to add to the chorus of YUM! Made it as directed in recipe and thought it was perfect even without any spiced yogurt. I can see how a variety of nuts and grains would work, but I really did love the sweet crunch of the pistachios and the combo of French lentils and jasmine rice. Thanks for a great recipe!
 
KM January 26, 2016
I've made this many times. I fry some tofu and put it on top while the flavours meld at the end. Tonight's dish is in honour of the UN 2016 year of the pulses :).
 
Elinoar M. January 1, 2016
It must be noted that the features is not an original. I think it was adapted Rivka's kitchen.<br />it is a middle eastern dish. Jews of Syria and Egypt used to add yogurt. Never with butter though.<br />Elinoar Moore - Israel
 
Sarina H. December 31, 2015
I live in a house of carnivores and we enjoyed this dish very much with grilled sausages and sautéed bok choy. Next time, I'd like to try to make homemade naan with it--that would be the perfect addition.
 
Marie May 12, 2015
Amazing! It seems so simple that it is unbelievable this is so appealing. I frequently eat the yogurt part by itself. It is delicious and no sugar!
 
Dara March 22, 2015
This was an amazing dish. Simple with all the ingredients in the pantry ready to go. Thank you for sharing. I will be making this for a long time to come
 
Transcendancing December 22, 2014
Wow, tried this for dinner tonight and am really delighted by it! So much delicious flavour from unassuming ingredients! I toasted 1/2 a cinnamon stick with my coriander and cumin seeds then ground them up and I think it added something to the spice yoghurt flavour. Will definitely make this again!
 
Patricia November 26, 2014
Made a version of this yesterday where I skipped the yogurt (couldn't be bothered to go to the shop so worked with what I had at home) and incorporated the spices with the onions instead. Served with harissa chicken and raw onion (persian style) and died and went to food heaven. LOVE this rice dish!
 
Sam November 11, 2014
Excellent recipe! Thank you.
 
sassygirl711 September 1, 2014
so yummy! i loved the browned vidalia onions<br />with the puy lentils and added vadouvan to the mix. can't wait for tomorrow's leftovers. :)
 
Sara S. August 9, 2014
Very nice recipe. But just for the record, as this is originated from my mother country, this is called Mudardara. Mujaddara stands for an oriental lentil puree and rice soup. Bon appetit!
 
Nadia April 7, 2015
This levantine dish is called differently by each of the people of the Levant, so palestinians call above mujadarah and if not mistaken lebanese call it mudardarah and probably as you said another version mujadarah ...
 
Rami A. August 27, 2017
The Lebanese call it mujadarah too. We serve it with carmelised onions.
 
Nicole June 23, 2014
I really cheated on this one and used rice select royal blend (a combo of brown rice, pearl couscous, flax, and black lentils). I just had to mix in the onions and top with the yogurt. It was awesome!
 
helena April 24, 2014
very nice! i changed up the spices for my dish: ground coriander, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, and fresh ground pepper. I also added a bay leaf when sweating the onions along with the spices listed above. At the end i mixed in some greek yogurt with everything to make it a little creamy and chopped up a generous amount of parsley to sprinkle on top.
 
Paula E. March 30, 2014
Just made this with brown basmati. I used plain goat yogurt with dill and cucumber. I also added pecans. One of my very favorite veggie meals. Tomorrow morning it will serve as my grain with an over easy egg on top.
 
kasia S. March 8, 2014
The first time I made this ( last monday I was blown away) so I'm making this again, right now actually for a yummy lunch. <br /><br />I love leftovers, I serve them warm with a sunny side up fried egg on top, runny yolk is perfect with this!
 
Spicely_Organics April 15, 2014
Ooohhh...going to try it with the egg on top! Thanks for the idea!
 
kasia S. May 3, 2014
My pleasure :) I'm making this today, hard to stay away from this dish!
 
KelseyB February 26, 2014
I made this as written (minus the cinnamon) and ate it over the next 4 days. I plated it with lettuce, bell peppers, and other fresh cut vegetables for color. It was delicious every single day. I would reccomend 1 1/2 or doubling the yogurt sauce.
 
zeldie February 10, 2014
I've made this dish with Basmati and jasmine and Tonight I used brown rice as it was the only rice in my pantry. I have used sweet white onion , red onion, shallots and all are delicious. Delicious with any rice or onion. Brown rice is just chewier so dish is more filling. I add sweet chili pepper blend n37 from la boîte spices (excellent) and served a cool salad of chopped cucumbers ( without seeds) peeled and chopped red pepper chopped celery chopped radishes and basil cilantro parsley lemon balm from the garden. Dressed w olive oil and cider vinegar. Some roasted parsnips and other root vegetable makes this a perfect meal.
 
Barbara February 11, 2014
Great suggestions Zeldie<br />
 
kasia S. March 8, 2014
Sounds delicious, I'm going to use wheatberries or farro ( always have both in cupboard) next time instead of rice for extra nutty chew.