Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

The Best (and easiest) Mjadra

When I was in London, my friend took me to a stunning Lebanese restaurant where we had a piled table of the most delicious plates of food. Haloumi, Labneh, Tabouleh, Mjaddara, Felafel, flat bread and more that I can’t even remember. Since I’ve been back I have been longing to have that meal again and last night I searched for the easiest recipe for Mjaddara (or Mjadra, or Umjadara). I found the one and cooked it up and it was totally amazingly delicious.

Here is all I did. I cooked 1 cup of lentils in 4 cups of water on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Then I chopped a big onion and fried it in olive oil until it was dark brown (almost but not quite burnt). There was still a lot of water left in the lentils after 20 minutes and all you do is throw in the onion and oil, a 1/4 tsp of ground cumin, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of rice (I used basmati because that’s what I had). I waited until it was all boiling again, and then turned the heat right down and left it for 20 more minutes. Then we ate it. So delicious.

PS. Does anyone know where to get Za’atar in Cape Town?

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3 Comments

  1. The lebanese food in the UK is amazing!! As a vegetarian, do you have The Cranks Bible. Also (though not veggie exclusively) Ottolenghi? Those books will totalLy inspire you.

  2. megan

    Thanks Lisa. Will check it out!

  3. megan

    Here follows my great-aunt’s response to this post. I love it.

    I love lentils and rice and I think I would love your dish. But — I have become so lazy that I can’t trust myself in the kitchen. Yesterday I went shopping and bought fresh eggs (so they say) and when I came home I decided to hardboil 4 of them to have in my fridge for a sandwich or salad. I duly put them on to boil and picked up the book I was reading – nothing heavy -just a page turner “Death Benefit” by Robin Cook and the next thing I know, there is smoke and a burning smell and popping sounds and fragmented egg shells flying in all directions.

    I had forgotten about the eggs and I was lucky the pot did not explode or melt or whatever porcelain pots do. The eggs were ruined. I had to open all the windows and put on all the fans and spray with Lysol to get rid of the burning smell. I have burrned out several tea kettles and have now bought an electric kettle which switches off automatically when the water boils.

    It is not the first time in my cooking career I hope it is the last. When I first got married, I wanted to boil corned beef.for dinner No big deal, but I was reading and was startled by a burning smell. The water had boiled out but the Corned beef was salvageable and I put it into another pot with more water. And, I know it is hard to believe, but this is absolutely true, I went back to my book, and the same thing happened again. This time the corned beef was not salvagable and I had to throw it out.

    On thinking back, why was I cooking when I had two maids, and where were my kids? Luckily, not at home. I guess it must have been a Thursday afternoon. The maid’s day off. The other maid must have taken the kids for a walk.

    Back to lentils and rice. The closest I get to your recipe is a can of Progresso Lentil Vegetarian soup – delicious, to which I add a big ball of rice. That’s the extent of my cooking. Boiling rice, sometimes frying eggs, and yes, I boiled 4 eggs this morning without any mishap. I finished the book last night. I use Amy’s frozen food – vegetarian and organic -She’s a great cook. 7 minutes in the microwave and dinner is served, Ma’am.

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