A specialty of south Lebanon, frugal, healthy, delicious, vegan and ingredients are most probably found in your house hold. Yes, the dish is cheap to make as lentils, onions and bulgur make up the bulk of it – southern Lebanese cuisine relies heavily on bulgur. Ladies in south of Lebanon, take pride in mastering mujadara hamra. The end result should be firm, separate and never sticky and clumped together with a brown dark color tint. An authentic mujadara hamra needs no seasoning other than salt, all the flavors come together with perfect harmony! And did I mention that it is a very good source of protein and fibers!!
My love of "Mujadara Hamra" didn't develop until I became an adult. As a kid, all kinds of mujadara were totally unappreciated! How wrong I was!! Yes,it took me a while after marriage to consider making mujadara hamra? In the back of my mind, I thought that this one something only experts could master. A few years passed by, I stepped inside my kitchen, rolled my sleeves up and decided to stay with my roots and be adventurous and give it a try. The end result was not a disaster, but not so appealing and the color was far away from brown, but as I tasted it, I realized that it wasn’t as bad as it looks; having watched my mother cooking mujadara hamra, I knew I must have browned the onions further more. A few more tries, and I was nominated in my husband’s family, as the best mujadara hamra maker! Whoohoo!
Easy to put together, the only real work is to be aware how to deep cook the caramelized onions since the color and flavor of the dish heavily relies on them.
Sreve it with yogurt on the side, or with fattouh or Middle Eastern salad or oregano salad and you’ve got a certifiably wonderful lunch or dinner.
One trick worth mentioning is not to overcook the lentils when boiled alone – you don’t need a mushy mujadara.
Traditionaly, mujadara hamra is made with brown lentils, but it is still doable with green lentils!
When I make “mujadara hamra”, I be sure to double the quantity so there would be leftovers to be enjoyed later!
Red onions are highly recommended in making "Mujadara Hamra"
Onions at this stage start wilting!
Onions here starts to caramelize
- 1 cup brown lentils
- ½ cup coarse bulgur
- 5 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
- ½ cup of olive oil and canola oil, mixed together
- 2 3/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Visually inspect the lentils for any small stones. Wash and place in pot. Add three cups of water, bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked but not overly soft. Drain in a colander and save its liquid.
- Heat the olive and canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat, cook the onions for about ten minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Continue to cook and scarpe until onions are very dark brown in color, very crucial for the end result of the dish, the success of this dish lies in
- Add the drained liquid from the lentils to the onions and let it simmer for one minute.
- Add the cooked lentils, salt and the coarse bulgur slowly stirring the mixture.
- Cover the saucepan and cook over very low heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Serve with radishes, fattoush, Middle Eastern salad, or some plain yogurt! Heavenly!!