If you have been following along in my blog, today was my first budget dinner. This week I challenged myself to spend no more then $50.00 for dinners all week. After hunting for recipes that were both nutritious and delicious I came up with several winners. Mujaddara was my first experiment. Admittedly I have a tendency to skim-read over things at times. As I browsed Budget Bytes, I was impressed by the minimal amount of ingredients in this recipe.
Mujaddara, as described by Beth of Budget Bytes, is a Lebanese dish featuring rice and lentils. I was curious to cook this Middle Eastern staple that, here in America, we can relate to as red beans and rice. What I didn’t expect (and this was totally my fault) was how long the dish would take. In a world where we are looking for quick, easy, and cheap… Mujaddara is easy to prepare… and it is certainly cheap… but it is NOT quick!
That being said, let me assure you: It is well worth the wait!
You begin by chopping up 4 yellow onions into thin rings. Drop them into a large cooking/stock pot with a bit of olive oil on the bottom and let them slowly caramelize over LOW heat. Stir about every 5 minutes for 1 hour. remove half of the cooked onions to garnish the rice at the end.
Next, add your spices. You’ll want to put in a teaspoon (I guesstimated because I’m impatient like that) of Allspice, Cumin, and Ground Cloves. As the spices hit the onions the aroma that waifs up is… delicious.
Next you’ll want to pour in 2 1/2 cups of Vegetable stock and stir it around the pot. Then add 1 cup of long-grain rice. I used Jasmine rice, as well as 1 cup of brown lentils. turn your heat up to HIGH and bring to a boil.
Once everything is boiling, turn your heat down to LOW, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes.
Now let me pause here and note that this recipe never called for salt or pepper. My inner chef was literally twitching as I discovered this lack of seasoning on the ingredient list. “How good can this dish be if there isn’t any salt in it?!” my inner voice cried. But let me re-assure you again: It doesn’t need it. I don’t know how… or why… but it is simply divine.
After 30 minutes of cooking, turn OFF your flame and let the pot sit (still covered!) to rest for an additional 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, stir with a spoon to fluff everything. Serve hot and garnish with the cooked onions you set aside.
Yum yum yum! Well done Beth! I hope you all try out this super cheap ($3.45 to be exact) recipe and tell me what you think! Until next time all 🙂