MIDDLE EAST MONDAY: THE 100% VEGAN PERFECT PROTEIN MEAL
Today’s dish, Mujaddara, is a staple in Middle Eastern Cuisine.
It’s a staple because it’s easy, cheap to make, veggie AND it’s a perfect protein.
Looking at the picture of this dish you might find it weird to hear that our eyes light up anytime my mum tells us (my sisters, brother and I) that she’s made Mujaddara and it’s in the fridge. It’s true though. It’s one of the most basic dishes to make but there is something about it that is so complete nurturing and satisfying.
Maybe because it’s a complete protein – the combination of brown rice and lentils make this a perfect protein – which basically means you get all essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. On its own it is complete and whole. We tend to eat Mujaddara as an accompaniment, like we do with most dishes, but mostly I just love this on it’s own.
It’s stupidly cheap to make – it was probably a dish first born from poverty, but I feel rich when I eat this. Rich in nutrients and in love – because it’s usually made by my mum, who truly cooks with love. Not to mention all the other Lebanese mammas out there that see cooking and feeding their tribe as an honour, a way of life and an expression of compassion and kindness.
It’s also not a very pretty look dish, but not much is in Middle Eastern Cuisine. But who cares, right? Apparently I did, ALOT. It’s bizarre to remember that as a child I used to shun Mujaddara. It wasn’t so much the taste but that it was a brown, boring looking blob. Children are so fussy. Mum use to sneak this into my diet in lebanese bread wraps or fancied up with other more exciting looking things.
Now I’m excited to eat this just as it is!
Ok, so let’s get cooking.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon pink salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon diced garlic
- 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon pink salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 white onions, sliced into 1/4-inch rings
How to make Mujaddara:
- Pre-soak your lentils for as long as you can
- Bring the lentils to boil in a pot of water. As soon as it boils take it off the heat and rinse – this is how I ensure lentils don’t cause any gas/bloating. It’s an extra precaution I learnt from my mum.
- Combine the lentils, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, the cumin, and garlic in a pot over medium heat; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook until the lentils begin to soften, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Stir the rice, 3/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and the olive oil into the lentils. Cover the pot and continue cooking until the lentils and rice are tender, about 40 minutes.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan over medium heat; cook the onions in the oil until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Spread the onions over the rice and lentil mixture to serve.
If you want to get a little fancy I add in some coriander and mint at the end, diced organic tomatoes and big dollop of homemade yoghurt!
This is such an awesome staple to have in the fridge when you are too exhausted to cook – it’s satisfying, filling and nutrient dense.
Saha to you + enjoy!