Mujadara - Simplicity at it's best
This dish is my healthy comfort food. I think part of the reason is because my Mum often cooks it for me and it gives me comfort without the guilt or bloat.
Mujadara is a middle eastern dish made of rice and lentils and there are many different variations and ways to cook it. Some add less or more spice and sometimes it is cooked with more water so that the consistency is wetter.
Whichever version, Mujadara is simple, healthy and tasty! Oh and did I mention cheap!
It's simple because many of the ingredients are kitchen cupboard staples and if you have to buy them, they are not going to break the bank.
Let's also have a look at the health benefits of this dish.
There may be small in nature but the humble and versatile lentil is high in protein and fiber which help to stabilise blood sugar levels and contribute to a healthy weight. They are also a rich source or B vitamins and folate which help to reduce fatigue, low mood and poor sleep.
When you add brown rice to the mix you are upping the fiber content and B vitamins as well adding iron which is important for our energy levels.
Brown rice also contains Magnesium which is a very important mineral needed for bone and heart health and can help with relaxation, sleep.
High levels of stress levels can deplete Magnesium and deficiency may manifest as anxiety, muscle cramps and fatigue.
I am giving you a version that I have adapted from my Mum who is Lebanese and grew up on this dish! She uses white basmati rice so if you have that in your cupboard you can use it too but I am going for nutrition here and better blood sugar balance.
I have added a simple Tomato and Red Onion Salad which I really think helps bring this dish alive and gives it a layer of freshness and zing!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
· 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (you can also use olive oil or ghee)
· 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
· ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
· 3 brown onions sliced
· 1 ¼ cup green lentils soaked for 1 hour in filtered water, rinsed and drained
· 4 ½ cups water
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ¾ cup brown basmati rice soaked for 1 hour in filtered water, washed and then drained
For the Red Onion and Tomato Salad
· 1 red onion thinly sliced
· 2 large tomatoes chopped
· 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
· 2 tablespoons of olive oil
· 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
· Salt to taste
Add the ghee to the frying pan or skillet and when hot, reduce the heat slightly adding in the cinnamon and 1 ½ teaspoons of the cumin. Allow the spices to become aromatic (around a minute) being careful not to let them burn
Next, add in the brown onions, coat with the spices and a pinch of salt. We want the onions to cook for a long time to become caramelised and crispy so stir occasionally adding a bit of water if they start to burn
Place 3 cups of water, the salt and lentils into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
When the lentils have come to a boil, cook for 10 minutes at a simmer by placing a lid ajar on the saucepan
After 10 minutes add to the pan of lentils, the drained rice, a 1/3 of the cooking onions, ½ teaspoon of cumin and the rest of the water (1 ½ cups). Cook covered for 30 minutes on a very low heat.
While the rice and lentils are cooking, prepare the salad by adding the sliced and chopped ingredients to a bowl. Add the lemon and olive oil along with salt to taste.
When the rice and lentils have cooked, mix in the caramelised onions, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve alongside the side salad and enjoy.