Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mjarda - Lebanese Comfort Food (Veg or Non-Veg)

Mjardra - Lebanese Lentil Comfort Food Vegan/Non Veg
This recipe wins *no* awards for beauty. It's good, solid and quite high in protein. You can eat this as a side, as a meal or as a sandwich filling. Also called "mujadara"

Here's the vegan recipe:


2 medium onions, diced finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup brown rice or quinoa
1 cup brown lentils
4 cups water (approximately)
1 OXO Veggie bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon salt (you can use more or less)

Chopped cilantro or Italian parsley to taste

Heat oil in pan and gently fry onions on medium high heat until they are brown- stirring occasionally. Add in rice/quinoa and lentils, mix in with onions. Add water and soup cube and salt as needed. Mix, cover and simmer for at least one hour, until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft. You may need to add water. Check occasionally and stir so it doesn't burn to the bottom. Add chopped cilantro or parsley prior to serving.
Best if served in a shallow bowl, and let sit for 10 minutes or so. Enjoy warm or cold - I actually like it best room temperature. Serve with strained yoghurt (if you aren't going vegan) and you can add even more protein.

Egyptians make it with the addition of tomatoes and chili pepper and it's called "koshari". Also good.

Mjardra with Meat

1 lb ground lamb or beef
1 chopped onion (2 if you don't use leeks)
2 chopped medium leeks - the white and yellow parts (save the green parts for soup)
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 tsp ras el hanout spices (omit or substitute your favorite pepper blend if you can't find this tasty spice mixture from Morocco, or if you don't like it)
(1/2 c. toasted pine nuts, if desired)
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup brown rice or quinoa
4 cups water (about)
2 chicken soup cubes or OXO vegetable cubes
chopped parsley or cilantro

Brown the meat in a heavy bottomed pan. If it's extra lean, you'll need to brown it in a little oil. Add the chopped onions, garlic and leeks and fry on medium heat until translucent. Add spices as suggested or to taste. I add the chopped stems of the greens at this point along with pine nuts.

Add the lentils and rice and fry briefly. Add the water, soup cubes and reduce heat. Simmer covered until lentils and rice are soft - about 1 hour. Be careful to stir and don't let this burn. Add chopped greens when cooked.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Goes well with a green salad or chopped vegetable salad, dressed with lemon juice and oil. Even better the second day!

You can also carmelize the onions before adding them to either version of the mjardra for a different taste.


1 comment:

buddha_girl said...

Ooooooooooh I love me some lentils! I'll be trying both the vegan and "with meat" variations! Thank you!