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Mjdarra (lentils with rice)

based on a recipe from Food For The Vegetarian
- Traditional Lebanese Recipes
by Aida Karaoglan

mjdarra (photo ejm Aug2010)



  1. The day before you are going to make the dish, sort (to remove stones) and wash the lentils well. Soak them in cold water overnight. The next day, remove any lentils that are floating. Drain and rinse the lentils. Put in a big pot and cover with fresh cold water. DO NOT ADD SALT. Bring to a boil. Simmer 1 hour partially covered. Check to see if lentils are the consistancy (in terms of softness) you like. If not, simmer a little longer.
  2. Wash rice gently. Put rice in a large pot with 1½ times the amount of cold water. Add salt and bhar. Cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, take it OFF the heat, place it on WARM and leave to stand for 40 minutes. Do NOT take the lid off. Do NOT peek to see how it's doing. (This method makes beautiful rice every time.)
  3. In a pan, put cumin seeds in hot oil for about 1 minute. Add the onions and sauté until they are caramelized. Set aside.
  4. When the rice is done, add the onion mixture and drained lentils to the rice. Mix gently but thoroughly. Warm over low heat before serving.

Serve warm or cold with pita bread and cucumbers mixed in yoghurt and seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and mint, or radishes and green onions, or a cabbage salad.

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to blog from OUR kitchen: raiding the icebox to make mjdarra (MLLA #26) Mjdarra revisited and made with Puy lentils and leftover rice (link includes revised recipe)
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Spice Mixes:
Bhar (Baharat) . more spice mixes, lentils and rice recipes


According to Aida Karaoglan, bhar is

"a spice blend made of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is very similar in flavor to allspice, which may be substituted for it."

But I did a search on the internet of "middle eastern spice mixes" and found reference only to baharat, which has many more than three spices. The Spice House blends "Tellicherry black pepper, coriander, cumin, Ceylon select cloves, Saigon cinnamon, cardamom, Spanish paprika and Chinese Tien Tsin chile peppers." Other sources use dried limes, turmeric... Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages have extensive information on many spices and links to several other spice pages.

Baharat (Middle Eastern Spice Mixture)

  1. Mix well (use your second coffee spice grinder) and store in the dark in an airtight spice jar.

To mjdarra (lentils and rice) . Mjdarra revisited . our recipes

Rice Dishes:
Biriyani (Indian) . Chicken with Rice (South American) . Mjdarra (Middle Eastern lentils) . Mjdarra revisited . Paella . Persian Rice . Rice Pudding . Wild Rice Casserole

Beans and Pulses:
Baked Beans . Black Bean Stew . Borlotti (Cranberry Beans) Pasta Sauce . Cassoulet . Chicken and Lentils . Chili con Carne . Chole . Dahl . Falafel . Fuhl . Fuhl revisited . Haricots Blancs . Hummus . Lablabi . Mexican Pie . Mexican Pot Beans . Mjdarra (lentils) . Mjdarra revisited . Puy Lentils . Refried Beans . Refried Beans Casserole . Vegetarian Burgers

Spice Mixes:
Bengali fish curry paste . bhar . chili powder . curry powder . flour & herb rub . garam masala . mustard . seasoned salt . 3 spice rubs (including "Old Bay") . fennel seed spice rub . Ras el Hanout . rosehip spicerub . za'tar

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ejm (aka llizard) 2000
Toronto Ontario Canada

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