How to make Mujadara – Arabian rice and lentils dish

How to make Mujadara – Arabian rice and lentils dish


Mujadara is one of the most famous dishes in the Arab kitchen. The first Mujadara recipe appeared in a cooking book by El-Bagdai in 1226. 

What is the meaning of the word Mujadara?

The meaning of the word Mujadara in Arabic is not appetizing. It means the scars of smallpox or acne since the lentils in the rice remind of the scars. 

Even though the name might not be appetizing, Mujadara is very tasty. The combination of rice, lentils, caramelized onion, and spices creates a harmonic dish larger than the sum of its ingredients. 

Mujadara - One dish many versions

Since the mujadara is very common in the Arab world, you can find different versions of the mujadara in each region. 

Some versions use burghul instead of rice. Some versions use black lentils instead of green lentils, and some versions serve the mujadara with yogurt.

One dish many versions.

To separate or not to separate?

There are two methods to cook the mujadara: cook the rice and lentils together or separately.

I like to cook rice and lentils separately. It gives me better control over the cooking process.   

Mujadara without caramelized onion is like French fries without salt

Mujadara without caramelized onion is like French fries without salt. It just doesn’t work. 

All you need for a perfectly caramelized onion is patience. 

Cook the onion over low heat and take your time. Do not try to rush the process with high heat. Using high heat will cause the onion to burn. Be patient. The caramelization time is when you need to cook the rice and the lentils, so take your time.  

How to make mujadara - Arab rice and lentils dish

How to make mujadara - Arab rice and lentils dish

Course Tags Side Dish
Cuisine Tags Arab kitchen
Keyword Tags Lentils, Mujadara, Rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 150 kcal
Author Hanan Evyasaf


Ingrediants for the rice:

  • 2 cups Persian rice
  • 3 cups Boiling water
  • 2 tbsp Kanola oil
  • 1 tbsp Salt

Ingredients for the lentils:

  • 2 cups Green lentils
  • Water to cover the lentils

Ingredients for the carmelized onions:

  • 4 Medium Onions
  • 4 - 5 tbsp Canola oil

Ingredients for the Mujadara

  • Cummin to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste


Carmelizing the onions:

  1. Peel the onions and cut them in half from top to bottom.

    Mujadara cutting the onions
  2. Place the halved onion on the side and cut into thin stripes

    Mujadara cutting the onions
  3. Heat the oil in a pan.

    Majadara heat the oil
  4. Carmelize the onions over low heat until well browned but not burned. Don't rush the procces it will take around 25 - 30 minutes.

    Mujadara caramelizing the onion

Making the rice:

  1. Prepare the rice igridiants.

    making rice
  2. Heat the oil in a pot.

    Heat the oil in a pot
  3. Add the rice and stir fry it for two minutes on high heat. Be careful not to burn it.

    Stir fry the rice
  4. Add the boiling water. Be careful, and the water may bubble and splash! When the bubbling calms down, give the rice a good stir.

  5. Add the salt and stir well. If there are some clamps of rice, break them with the spoon.

  6. Cover the pot with a lid.

    Cover the rice pot with a lid
  7. Transfer the pot to the lowest heat on the stove.

    Cook the rice for 15 minutes. After 7 minutes of cooking, give the rice a good stir.

  8. After 15 minutes, check the rice. If it's still a bit hard, give it an additional 2 minutes of cooking and recheck.

    If the rice feels soft, even if it is not cooked completly , close the heat and let the rice stand for 5 - 10 minutes. the steam in the pot will finish the cooking procces. keep the lid closed.

    cooked rice
  9. After the rice had rested, fluff it with a fork.


Cooking the Lentils:

  1. Sort the lentils and wash them under running water. Strain the lentils and place them in a pot.

  2. Add water to the pot until they cover the lentils plus 2 centimiters.

  3. Being the water to boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid.

    Mujadara cooking the lentils
  4. Cook the lentils for 20 - 25 minutes until the lentils are soft but not mushy. If the pot runs out of water before the lentils are soft add a little boiling water and keep cooking until soft.

    Mujadara cooking the lentils

Making the Mujadara

  1. Place the rice in a large bowl or a pot.

    Mujadara place the rice in pot
  2. Strain the lentils from any access water and add them to the bowl.

    Mujadara add the lentils
  3. Add the carmelized onions.

    Mujadara add the onion
  4. Season with cumin and grounded black pepper and mix well.

    Mujadara add cumin
  5. Taste and fix seasoning.


Support our blog by pressing on the ads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment Rating