Mujadarra (Lentils and Rice)

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lentils__with_rice_and_onions.jpgThis recipe is a pretty straightforward mix of rice, lentils, and onions spiced with either cumin or garam masala. It makes a delicious and satisfying side, perfect for a vegetarian Indian or middle eastern meal.

3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
3 cups yellow onions, cut into quarter slices (or more)
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin or garam masala
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cook rice in water following package directions, or cook in a rice cooker.

Rinse lentils, then place in heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, add 1 quart water, and let lentils simmer over very low heat uncovered until they are soft (about 20-30 minutes, but cooking time will depend on how fresh the lentils are so keep checking until they are soft but still have a slight bite to them.) When lentils are cooked, cover and let water them absorb any leftover water.

While lentils cook, chop onions. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan, then add onions, reduce heat to medium-low and start to brown onions, stirring every few minutes. Continue to cook onions, stirring often, until they are deeply browned and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. Don't rush this step; the onions will be bitter if they're cooked at high heat.

When onions are browned, remove half the onions to drain on a paper towel to crisp. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp cumin or garam masala into the rest of the onions in the pan and saute 1-2 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked lentils to the pan with the onions, leaving behind any water that's not absorbed. Season the cooked lentils and onions with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook 1-2 minutes to blend flavors.

Gently mix cooked rice into the lentils and caramelized onions, heating for a minute or two if the rice is not hot. Put Mujadarra on a serving dish, top with crispy caramelized onions, and serve hot or warm.

Original recipe

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