Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Hope everyone's 2013 is off to a great start! This is always the month during which gyms are packed, yoga studios see a significant uptick in practitioners, and juice cleanses are in full force. We all know that this stuff will see a bit of drop-off in the weeks to come (thank goodness), but I love all the inspired, live-your-best-life attitude while it's here. And so, I thought it would be appropriate to start the year off with a healthful, vegetarian dish.
Middle Eastern food has a special place in my heart (all those colorful spices!) and this mujaddara is apparently a staple in Israel. It's absolutely delicious with lots of different textures and flavors mingling together--crisp onions, fluffy jasmine rice, plump lentils, all topped with a super easy mint yogurt that is out of this world. xo
Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt
For the Mujaddara
3/4 cup Puy lentils (aka French lentils)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup jasmine rice
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups onions (about 3 medium onions), halved and thinly sliced
For the Yogurt
1/2 cup whole fat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon spicy paprika or aleppo pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer lentils until soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. Rinse pot.
Add rice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water to the pot, set over medium heat, and bring to a boil. When the water begins to boil, cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 17 minutes (the tried-and-true Amande Hesser method!) until perfectly cooked. Remove from oven, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
While rice cooks, set a wide, deep saute pan over medium-low heat and add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter has mostly melted, add onions and toss to incorporate with butter and oil.
After 5 minutes, onions will have softened slightly and started to release their liquid. Raise heat to medium and cook 10 to 12 minutes more, until onions are very soft and browned. Add water by the tablespoon if pan gets too dry or if onions start to stick. When onions are well browned, add last tablespoon of olive oil and raise heat to high. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until bottom layer of onions has charred and crisped; try not to stir too much, or onions won't crisp up.
Combine rice, lentils, and most of the onions in large serving bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes, to marry the flavors together. (Truth be told, this dish improves with age.) Taste, and add more onions if desired. Meanwhile, make the yogurt: mix all ingredients together in a small bow.
If mujaddara has cooled significantly, reheat in a low oven or even in the microwave for a couple of minutes. To serve, plate a big scoop of mujaddara and top with a dollop of yogurt.