Mujaddara is a traditional Lebonese dish that is not common in Trinidad. However it is a fantastic vegan dish that is easy to make with common ingredients. So if you are feeling a bit adventurous today, then give this spicy dish a try!
Mujaddara can be most closely compared with the Trinidadian dish, Pelau.
Like Pelau, it is rice and peas cooked together in an easy one pot dish with a medley of flavours. However, the flavour profile is like nothing you have had before. This Middle eastern Pelau is made with lentil peas and rice, and has a sweet and smokey flavour from the mixture of the Cumin or Geera with the cloves and cinnamon. The caramelized onions add another dimension of flavour to this amazing dish. It simply cannot be described!
If you like authentic Indian cooking than I suggest you give Mujaddara a try. The spice profile in this dish is very similar to Indian dishes and is an easy alternative to Indian take out!
1/3 cup lentil peas
2/3 cup of long grain rice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated carrots*
1/2 cup diced sweet peppers*
1 stalk of celery, minced*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups hot water
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Soak the lentils for 15 minutes in hot water with baking powder.**
- Put a pot on low heat, add the oil and the onions.
- Frequently stir the onions until they become caramelized. They should look dark brown in colour, be sticky and have a sweet smell.
- Add in the ground spices -cloves, cumin, cinnamon- and stir for one minute.
- Stir in the carrots, sweet pepper, celery, salt and pepper.
- Stir in the rice and strained lentil peas.
- Add all the water and turn the heat up to high until the water reaches a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover.
- Let the dish simmer for 30 minutes, checking on it after 20 minutes to make sure all the water hasn’t been absorbed.
- Test the lentils to ensure they are cooked. If they are not cooked, add more water and cover. Once the lentils are cooked remove the cover and let any excess water be absorbed before taking off the stove.
*I added the carrots, sweet pepper and celery as opposed to using vegetable stock instead of water. If it’s easier for you to use store bought vegetable stock then by all means use 2 cups of vegetable stock and 1 cup of water and leave out the vegetables.
**Always soak your dried peas and beans before cooking, not only does this shorten their cooking time, but it also makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients they contain. Never skip this step!
Please feel free to leave comments, questions, suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂