mjaddarah: a taste from home away from home

Mjaddarah (مدردرة – مجدرة), the “hungry man’s food”, is a simple yet very rich dish that is relatively popular in the Arab world and a food enjoyed by everyone. Classically served with yogurt and mint, Mjaddarah is a true delight.


Reminding me of home, Mjaddarah has always been a favorite dish that I would delightfully have anytime, anywhere. And lately, I have been nostalgic and missing my mum’s cooking and so, naturally, have been craving this dish often. And I’m not ashamed to admit that, despite my love for this dish, I failed to make it a few times before. So being finally able to prepare it not only makes me happy knowing I can enjoy this dish whenever I want, but also give me a certain sense of pride.




3/4 cup brown lentils
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt
about 4 cups water

3 – 4 tbsp olive oil
4 medium brow onions, finely sliced

  • Start preparing the lentils by washing them then cooking them covered with 2 cups of water in a medium pan over medium heat. Once water starts boiling lower heat and allow to cook for about 20-25 minutes. By then the lentils will be al dente.
  • Remove from heat, discard the water and keep the lentils aside till ready to cook the rice.
  • Sautée the onions by heating the olive oil in a large frying pan and gradually adding all of the sliced onions. Stir continuously so the onions get caramelized without actually getting burned. Once desired caramelized brown color has been reached, remove the onions from heat. Set aside till ready to serve the dish.
  • You can soak the rice for about 10-15 minutes before cooking it. Once soaked and water discarded, start cooking the rice by melting the butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Stir in the rice and sautée for a few minutes before adding in the lentils, cumin and salt. Pour the remaining 2 cups of water onto the rice and lentils and cover with a lid till water comes to a boil. Cook for another 10 minutes then lower the heat and cook further for another 5 minutes, till rice has been thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve it right away accompanied by the sautéed onions and yogurt (or salad). And enjoy!

Bon Appétit!

About the author mahadweik

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