Culinary Arts

What Is Mujadara? Learn How to Make the Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice Dish With This Easy Mujadara Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Jul 5, 2019 • 1 min read

Chalk up another one for lentils—the superfood heard round the world—in this Middle Eastern comfort food staple.

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What Is Mujadara?

Mujadara (or mujaddara, as it’s known in Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine, and mudardara in Syrian cuisine) is a gluten-free pilaf featuring brown or green lentils, long-grain or basmati rice, and caramelized onions, typically seasoned with cumin and coriander and served warm, chilled, or at room temperature as a side dish. This protein-rich combination of rice and lentils can be seen throughout Middle Eastern cuisine, from Indian khichdi to Egyptian kushari and Iranian addas polo.

Can You Use Brown Rice for Mujadara?

Mujadara is typically made with white rice, but you can use brown rice for a nuttier, even more nutritious overall flavor profile.

What to Serve With Mujadara

Mujadara makes a great hearty base for just about everything, from a fried or poached egg to roasted meat or grilled fish—the slight sweetness from the fried onions with the aromatic spice notes liven up anything you’ve got in your fridge, really— but you can also serve it with a dollop of labneh or plain Greek yogurt and a cucumber-tomato herb salad with mint and cilantro.

Simple Mujadara Recipe

Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
  • 4 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1 cup white or brown rice (basmati is best either way)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. In a large pot, bring 4 cups water or stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Add lentils and rice, and bring back to a boil before dropping to low heat and keeping the pot at a simmer. Cover and cook until both rice and lentils are tender, but not mushy, testing at 20–30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cumin and sauté until golden brown and crisp around the edges.
  3. Stir half the fried onions into the rice-lentil mixture. Season to taste with salt.
  4. Top mujadara with the remaining crispy onions and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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