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 make 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

  • 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

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT!