This classic, ancient Lebanese dish has many different names and many different preparations
1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 quart cold water
1/2 cup olive oil
3 large white onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
scallions, cut diagonally
radishes, thinly sliced
olive oil for drizzling
1. Bring the lentils and the water to a boil in a large saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer, skimming, until the lentils are nearly tender, about 25 minutes.
2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove 1 1/2cups of the onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Continue cooking the remaining onions, stirring constantly, about 5 to 7 more minutes, or until nicely caramelized and beginning to crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels.
3. Drain the lentils and reserve the liquid
(the liquid should measure at least 1 1/2cups; (if
it doesn't, add water). Return the lentils to the pan, add the 1 1/2cups liquid, the onions that you removed first, rice, salt, and allspice, and cook over very low heat, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Place the mujadarah on a platter, and top with the longer-cooked, crispy onions. Serve garnishes on the side.
This classic, ancient Lebanese dish has many different names and many different preparations. In its purest form-where the lentils are pureed and served with the rice-it is thought to be Esau's mess of pottage. The variation we prefer (and present here) is often called moudardara: in it, the lentils remain whole. The same dish is called ruz koshari in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where it is served with a tomato sauce. We like to serve it topped with vegetable garnishes...and alongside other Lebanese vegetable dishes and salads, as part of a first-course array of meze. Serves 8 as part of a first-course array