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Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra)

15 Mins Cook
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NomNom Recipes 16

Mejadra is a savory Middle Eastern rice pilaf that is delicious enough to eat on its own.

Mejadra is an ancient dish that is very popular in the Arab world. A dish of fragrant and fragrant rice (not spicy) combined with sweet and crunchy onions. For the full-fledged version, make your own fried onions. Worth a try if you have the time. But if you’re short on time, a near-perfect substitute is store-bought crisp-fried shallots. You can buy this in the Asian section of most grocery stores these days.I think it tastes about the same!

Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra) - NomNomWow
Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra) – NomNomWow

This rice has such great flavor on its own that you can make a complete meal by simply adding grilled fish or other proteins or veggies. Ready!

Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra)

Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra)

Mejadra is a savory Middle Eastern rice pilaf that is delicious enough to eat on its own.
prep time
5 Mins
cooking time
15 Mins
total time
20 Mins



  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp ground cumin)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds (or 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander)

  • 1 cup basmati or long grain rice , uncooked

  • 1 1/4 cup / 315 ml water (see notes)

  • 400g / 14 oz canned brown lentils, drained (1 can) , drained

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Black pepper


  • 3 large or 4 small onions , very finely sliced

  • 1 cup / 250 ml vegetable or sunflower oil

  • Salt




Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add about 1/3 of the onion and sauté until golden and crisp, 5 minutes. Drain with kitchen paper.
He repeats the rest of the onions in two batches.


Add olive oil, cumin, and coriander to a pan and heat over medium heat.
Simmer for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.
Add rice, stir and coat with oil and spices.
Add water and lentils.
Once boiling, add all other spices, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. During this time, the remaining liquid will be absorbed.
Loosen the rice with a fork and add salt if desired.
Just before serving, stir in most of the onions and garnish with the rest. Sprinkle with chopped coriander if desired. Serve warm.


. Different rices and brands require different ratios of rice to water. Typically for long grain and basmati rice it is 1 cup of rice to 1 1/2 cups of water, but you should check the package instructions. Whatever the water quantity is, reduce it by 1/4 cup. This is because this recipe uses canned lentils which, although you drain it, adds to the liquid while cooking. If you do not reduce the quantity of water, the rice turns out wetter than it should. ALTERNATIVE: Use fried shallots / onions sold in jars in the Asian section of the supermarket. They are crunchy, salty and oily, so they serve the same purpose and taste the same. This is what I usually use. They are addictive! WHOLE VS GROUND SPICES: The Yotam recipe uses cumin and coriander seeds which soften when cooked, but the coriander is still a little bit firm (but soft firm). This added texture is the way the recipe is intended to be BUT if you prefer not to have the seeds in it, feel free to use ground, I've provided the quantities in the recipe.
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