Mujaddarah – Rice & lentils with caramalized onions

Good cooking doesn’t have to be crazy or require lots of specialty ingredients. You can make some seriously delicious dishes with just a few simple ingredients that everyone in your friends and family circle will be happy to devour!

Mujaddarah, a healthy and wholesome specialty from the Levant is a perfect example!


What ingredients you require:
Onions, olive oil, rice, brown lentils, cumin and water.

What kind of lentils and rice you should use:
Ideally, I would use the brown lentils. It should be pretty easy to find them at most grocery stores, especially Middle Eastern supermarkets or any wholesale stores. Depending on the origin, they might look a bit greenish or light brown. The choice of lentils will define how long you need to soak them for before cooking.
You can pretty much use any type of long grain rice you want. If you’re using brown rice, you’ll need to extend the cooking time. I prefer to use white and that too Basmati (Learn here why).

What elevates the simple dish to the next level: Onions are what bring flavor to this recipe as rice and lentils can be quite bland on their own.  Youll need a lot of onions. The key is to caramelize them on medium heat and keep a close eye at them. You don’t want them to be super soft or too dark, you want them to keep their shape yet be evenly golden brown.

What goes well with Mujaddarah: Its a wholesome and well balanced vegetarian dish that can be served on its own as an entree. A light salad like Fatoush or Tabouleh or a yoghurt based dip with fresh mint are sufficient.
If you want to serve Mujadarah as part of a party menu, check out our event coverages for more ideas!


Fatima Sadal
A healthy and wholesome rice and lentil specialty from the Levant
Cuisine Levant, Middle Eastern


  • 3 large onions thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 cup brown lentils soaked in water for 1 hr
  • 1 cup long grain rice preferably Basmati
  • 1 Tbsp cumin toasted
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon optional


  • Take olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions on medium heat until golden brown from all sides. Take out 2/3 of the onions and put aside for garnishing. Leave the rest in the pan along with the oil.
  • Take a large cooking pot, add the pre-soaked lentils and just enough boiling water to cover them. Cover and allow to cook on medium until al-dente.
  • Add rice, cumin and salt to the lentils. Mix and add the caramalized onions from the pan along with the oil.
  • Cover the rice and lentils with boiling water.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for 15 min. or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Add cinnamon, if desired.
  • Turn off the heat and wait for another 10 min. Don´t open the lid at this stage!
  • Transfer Mujaddarah in to a serving platter and place the reserved fried onions on top.


  • Be patient while frying the onions. It will take a while but is very important for the taste.
  • The amount of water for cooking depends on how long you´ve soaked the lentils. 
  • Don´t add salt in raw lentils, it will prolong the cooking time.
  • Make sure you take a large, wide cooking pot. It helps the rice retain its shape.

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