One of the great things about living in the metropolitan Detroit area is the number of Middle Eastern restaurants. I've had the pleasure of trying dishes I might never have considered before. One of my favorite meatless dishes is Moujadara with Rice. (Some prefer moujadara with bulgur but this recipe calls for rice.) I found a cookbook at Borders years ago titled "A Taste of Lebanon" by Mary Salloum. The recipes are quite simple and pretty close to what I've had in restaurants - from this book I've made tabouli, hummous, baba ghannouj... and moujadara. Here is the recipe (my notes are in parentheses):
1-1/2 cups dry lentils (washed, drained and picked over)
8 cups water
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup rice (I use regular long grain brown rice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, julienned
Place lentils in saucepan (I use a Dutch oven - at least 4 quarts). Add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender (an hour does it for me).
Add salt, pepper and rice to the lentils. Cook at a steady boil on low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Saute onions in oil until onions are golden brown (this step is critical - you won't get the flavor unless the onions are brown and caramelized - it takes a while! Watch so they don't burn!). Add to cooking lentil mixture, stir, and remove from heat.
Serve hot or cold. (I think it tastes best warm with a dollop of cold plain yogurt and a squeeze of lemon.)
(1) 1 cup rice may be used instead of 1/2 cup. This will make the recipe thicker.
(2) 1 cup coarse crushed wheat (bulgur) may be substituted for rice.
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