Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra) #vegetarian #vegan

Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra) #vegetarian #vegan

Mejadra is a fragrant Middle Eastern rice pilaf that is SO GOOD you can – and will need to – eat it all alone!

Mejadra is an antiquated dish that is tremendously well known all through the Arab world. It's a fragrant sweet-smelling spiced rice (however not zesty) joined with sweet crunchy onion. You make your own singed onion in the bona fide form, and it merits the exertion when you have time on your hands. Be that as it may, on the off chance that you don't have time, a close to consummate substitute is locally acquired crunchy Fried Shallots which these days you can buy from the Asian segment of most markets. I truly think it tastes nearly as great!

Since this rice has such an awesome flavor in itself, you can make a total dinner by serving only a straightforward bit of flame broiled fish or other protein, or even vegetables as an afterthought. A bit of yogurt, a sprinkle of herbs and supper is served!


Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil and Rice (Mejadra) #vegetarian #vegan


  • 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 rice (or long grain)
  • 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


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add about 1/3 of the onions and cook for 5 minutes until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Repeat with remaining onions, in two batches.


  1. Put the olive oil, cumin seeds and coriander in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and spices.
  4. Add the water and lentils.
  5. While it comes to boil, add all the other spices, salt and pepper.
  6. When it comes to a boil, turn it down to medium-low, cover with lid and let cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until all the liquid has mostly been absorbed.
  7. Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes - during this time, any residual liquid will absorb.
  8. Fluff rice with a from and adjust the seasoning with more salt if you wish.
  9. Just prior to serving, stir through most of the onions and top with remainder. Sprinkle with chopped coriander if desired. Best served warm.

 Recipe Notes:
1. 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.
2. 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!
3. 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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