Mdardra (Rice with Lentils)

I like the sound of the word “Mdardra”, I think it is musical. I remember when I was a little girl, I made up a song for this dish. And every time my mother used to cook it I sang it for her, making up words to a known Lebanese tune. My mother thought it was cute at first and sang along with me, but after the millionth time, she threatened to never cook it again unless I stop! I think I was singing badly or something…

This is a very simple meal in that its made with two main ingredients: rice and lentils, the same ingredients used to makeย mjaddara. Like most old Lebanese dishes, it originated from the villages where food was scarce. Somehow it remained very popular and is now a common dish to be had in a Lebanese home.


  • 1 cup of lentils
  • 1 cup of rice (long grain)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt + a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1 cup frying oil


  • Place the lentils in a pot, cover with about 5 cups of water and boil until it is half-cooked then discard the water
  • In another pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onion finely chopped until transparent
  • Add the half-cooked lentils to the onion with the rice, salt and cumin; cover with 2 cups of water and let it cook on a very low heat until the rice is cooked and the water absorbed
  • In a saucepan, heat the frying oil to fry the sliced onions until brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt for crispiness but be careful not to burn them
  • In a serving plate, place the rice with lentils and add the fried onions on top
  • Enjoy eating with plain yogurt or salad



  1. Looks delicious! The fried onions are a lovely touch. And the story about your singing is so cute…!

  2. I agree about the onions…I’ll bet they make the dish!

  3. Cute story ๐Ÿ™‚ If only you could remember the song…
    This sounds simple and delicious!

  4. I love the story – cute ๐Ÿ™‚ and this looks so delicious!!

  5. a classic. earthy, fragrant, healthy,,simple and yet sublime, enjoyed throughout the Sham/Levant, we make it with or without spices/cumin, sometimes long grain/ sometimes short,just depends on mood. great that you diicard the lentil cooking water we also make it that way..this is perfect with a chopped tomato/cucumber salad dressed in lemon/mint and olive oil..

  6. I enjoy lentils in so many ways. This looks simple and delicious.

  7. The salt helps crisp the onions? I’ve never heard of that!

  8. No matter the origins I think these simple dishes are often the best. and I know I can eat lentils and rice anytime !


  1. […] lentils are very commonly used in our cuisine. It can be made as Mjaddara,ย Mdardara, Lentil soupย or Adas bel Hamod. I always boil lentils in large quantities and keep the remaining […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: