Yeh, I had no idea what that was either. Lets just call it a burnt onion and lentil pilaf. That is easier to remember. When I made this Chris kept asking me what was for dinner
“Mubahdb” I would say.
“I can’t understand you. Stop mumbling.”
“Mudjimba*. Its a rice thing, don’t you get that? With the rice sitting right here??”
I get defensive when I am unsure of myself. Don’t you?
Mujadara, burnt onion and lentil pilaf, is a middle eastern dish that is really simple but so yummy. Great for nights when you want something light but warming or as a side dish.
For this you will need:
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
400g lentils, soaked or from a tin
herbs and spices, to taste
salt and pepper, to season
Start by slicing the onions into half rounds. If anyone knows the real way to chop this many onions and not cry, please please share it with me.
(Note to self: Now is not the time to experiment with your camera settings. Onions are nasty and they will make you cry and you will never end up getting that perfect shot and then your ISO’s and white balances and focus points will be all off for the rest of the dish.)
Get a pot of water boiling and start the rice cooking.
In a heavy based fry pan heat a generous splash of olive oil, enough to coat the base of the pan.
(yes, my fry pan is a little dirty. Chris had just made a falafel and I don’t want to waste water. Honestly people, think of the environment!)
Throw in the onions and give them a good fry.
And a bit more of a fry.
(see what I mean about the camera settings?? Damn onions!)
And some more.
And a bit more. I did say it was “burnt onions” not “softened slightly browning onions”!
When they get about this burnt take out a quarter of the onions and leave them off to the side for a moment.
Reduce the heat to med-low and add in the lentils. Give them a stir around until the lentils are cooked then remove the lentil/onion mix from the pan and leave it off to the side.
Get the onions that you put aside earlier and put them back on the heat. Add in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and let the onions caramelize until the balsamic starts to burn off.
Once the onions have caramelised in the balsamic vinegar remove them from the pan again.
When the rice is cooked, drain and rinse it and then heat it on low in the fry pan.
I used white rice but next time I will use brown rice, I think it will add a nicer texture and more flavour to the dish.
Mix the lentil/burnt onion mix through the rice.
Add in a little bit of stock if the rice starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, if not just keep stirring it until it all warms up.
Add in any herbs or spices you think it needs. I used a teaspoon of garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. I also mixed through a dash of balsamic vinegar, I am sure the balsamic is not used in the traditional version but to me burnt onions and balsamic vinegar are best friends and should never be kept apart.
Season with salt and pepper. And then add some more salt. And just a dash more. Salt is good in this dish, just use a little bit less in dinner tomorrow night.
Pop it on a plate, top with some of the balsamic onions and a little bit of greenery and you’re good to go.
Or add a splash of balsamic on the side, because balsamic vinegar makes the world go round, and also makes Mudjimba really yummy.
*Mudjimba is actually a town not far from where I live. I had to google Mudjimba to find that out. Never been there myself but I assume it is nice.