Join! 12 weeks for $1

Check out our latest issues.

Chef Eric Ripert teaches us how to make vegetables the star of the plate.

In Mumbai, we learned a home-cook friendly version of Butter Chicken.

Take a cooking class with us and our instructors from around the world.

NEW - 125 simple weeknight recipes from the world's healthiest cuisine.

1000+ hard-to-find items from around the world.

.
Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

Appears in March-April 2019

50 minutes

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

Free

Rice and lentils with caramelized onions is a much-loved food in the Middle East. This is our take on the version we tasted in Lebanon. The rice and lentils are simmered together in the same pot, with the lentils getting a 10-minute head start so both finish at the same time. Meanwhile, the onions are fried until crisp and deeply caramelized—almost burnt, really—to coax out a savory bittersweet flavor. Serve mujaddara hot, warm or at room temperature with a dollop of plain yogurt. It’s a delicious accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, but it’s hearty enough to be the center of a vegetarian meal.

4

Servings

Tip

Don't use French green lentils (Puy lentils) in place of the brown lentils called for. Even when fully cooked, green lentils retain a firm, almost al dente texture, while brown lentils take on a softness that combines well with the rice. Don't worry if the onions turn quite dark at the edge of the skillet; deep browning is desirable. But do stir the browned bits into the mix to ensure the onions color evenly. However, if the onions brown deeply before they soften, lower the heat a notch or two and keep stirring until the pan cools slightly.

50 minutes

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve
Ingredients
  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 4

    bay leaves

  • teaspoons ground cumin

  • ½

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained

  • 2

    medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1

    bunch scallions, thinly sliced

  • Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 5 cups water, the garlic, bay, cumin, allspice, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the lentils are softened but still quite firm at the center, about 10 minutes.
  2. 02
    Stir in the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. 03
    Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring only occasionally at the start then more frequently once browning begins at the edges of the pan, until the onions are deeply caramelized and crisped, 10 to 15 minutes; adjust the heat if the onions brown too quickly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside; the onions will crisp as they cool.
  4. 04
    When the lentils and rice are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and lay a kitchen towel across the pan, then replace the lid and let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. 05
    Using a fork, fluff the lentils and rice, removing and discarding the bay. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in half the scallions, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the fried onions and remaining scallions. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with yogurt on the side.
Tip: Don't use French green lentils (Puy lentils) in place of the brown lentils called for. Even when fully cooked, green lentils retain a firm, almost al dente texture, while brown lentils take on a softness that combines well with the rice. Don't worry if the onions turn quite dark at the edge of the skillet; deep browning is desirable. But do stir the browned bits into the mix to ensure the onions color evenly. However, if the onions brown deeply before they soften, lower the heat a notch or two and keep stirring until the pan cools slightly.
.
In the store
Reviews
Annie W.
July 13, 2022
Mujaddara
Lebanese style rice and lentils. Your cooking temps are too high, especially for what were working with. The cook on the lentils is all wrong. Salt should never be added at the beginning (against my better judgement I did), this makes the lentil tough, NOT tender, and they cook unevenly. Salt should always be added at the end when it comes to lentils, and you should know that. It should all be cooked on LOW, not med-low, the water vanishes quickly, leaving the dish dry. The onions should never be cooked on med-high, this creates burning not caramelizing, they should be cooked med to med-low. I'm fairly certain this recipe is not cooked at high temps in Lebanon. My grandmother used to make this, and nothing is cooked on higher heat.
Brett W.

I made this today and generally liked it, but I will have to make again with much less salt in the boiling liquid as the lentils/rice tasted too salty for my tastes.

John S.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Julia D.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Pauline C.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Jeanne B.

What about using brown rice? Would that work if you put them in at the same time?

Mary C.

This was delicious and easy. Couldn’t find brown lentils but green worked great ! Made the rice again tonite and put sauted veggies over it

David K.

This is a new family favorite. Everyone loves it even the kids. Agree on the salt comment, we have reduced it to a heaping half tablespoon of salt and that works well.

Arthur C.

Made it and really liked it. Going to experiment with replacing chicken broth for some of the water as well as other spices including paprika and red pepper flakes.

Jennifer C.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Eric C.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Nicole L.

I’ve read in several other recipes online that the brand of kosher salt is pretty important. I hear that one tsp of Diamond Crystal is the equivalent of 1/2 tsp of Morton's. Several comments have mentioned the saltiness so this might be the problem.

Laura S.

Really tasty and not too time-consuming to make, but wow, was it salty! We tried to cut it with some plain yogurt. I'll go with some of the other comments and reduce the salt by about half next time. Also, I don't see how onions would ever get crispy in that amount of time with that quantity of oil. They were still tasty, but they were caramelized and soft, not crispy.

kathleen h.

tasty....l2 1/2 tsp salt....in cuckoo rice cooker, used long grain brown rice. Dump all together and set the steam time to 13 min...It is VERY brown so you need color somewhere else on plate. I added raisins which is a + addition. Ditto Laura S the onions are not crispy but tasty. Really needs the yogurt.

G W.

Too salty. I see now that it was supposed to be kosher salt. I also had leftover water in the pan... is it supposed to be that way?

Lynn C.

Hi -

The rice and lentils should absorb all of the liquid. There should not be any liquid left in the pan.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Krysta G.

Used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (measured with a light hand LOL) and it was seasoned perfectly for us. I didn't time my onions, I went by look and mine crisped up nicely. I was worried about the allspice, but I shouldn't have been. Adds to the aroma but was not an overpowering flavour at all.

Evelyn S.

I love how easy and flavorful this recipe is. I use brown rice instead of basmati and just put it in with the lentils all at once. Agreed on salt comments, I used 1.5 tsp of salt and it came out great. I also quadruple the amount of onions because it's just sooooo good.

AKSANA M.

I just made it and it is absolutely delicious! Will be making it again and again! Love this recipe!


Down arrow

Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

50 minutes

Tip

Don't use French green lentils (Puy lentils) in place of the brown lentils called for. Even when fully cooked, green lentils retain a firm, almost al dente texture, while brown lentils take on a softness that combines well with the rice. Don't worry if the onions turn quite dark at the edge of the skillet; deep browning is desirable. But do stir the browned bits into the mix to ensure the onions color evenly. However, if the onions brown deeply before they soften, lower the heat a notch or two and keep stirring until the pan cools slightly.

Ingredients
  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 4

    bay leaves

  • teaspoons ground cumin

  • ½

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained

  • 2

    medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1

    bunch scallions, thinly sliced

  • Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

Step 1 of 5

Cook the lentils

4
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4
bay leaves
teaspoons ground cumin
½
teaspoon ground allspice
teaspoons kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
1
cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 5 cups water, the garlic, bay, cumin, allspice, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the lentils are softened but still quite firm at the center, about 10 minutes.

Step 2 of 5

Cook the rice

1
cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained

Stir in the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.

Step 3 of 5

Fry the onions

2
medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring only occasionally at the start then more frequently once browning begins at the edges of the pan, until the onions are deeply caramelized and crisped, 10 to 15 minutes; adjust the heat if the onions brown too quickly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside; the onions will crisp as they cool.

Step 4 of 5

Let the lentils and rice steam

When the lentils and rice are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and lay a kitchen towel across the pan, then replace the lid and let stand for 10 minutes.

Step 5 of 5

Top with scallions and fried onions

1
bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

Using a fork, fluff the lentils and rice, removing and discarding the bay. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in half the scallions, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the fried onions and remaining scallions. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with yogurt on the side.

Milk Street Bowtie Logo

Done!

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Want more?

See More Recipes