Mujadara with Bulgur
Some people tend to think about mujadara as stricktly one type! But there are tremendous ways of making mujadara/ mujaddara. Literally, there is a family of mujadara in Lebanon. Mujadara safra, mujadara hamra, mujadara makhbousa, mujadara with rice, mujadara with bulgur, etc…. I would literally smell my childhood in these dishes – at least once a week one type of mujadara had been on our family lunch table. Though, I wasn’t a fan of any type back then, but now mujadara is comfort food at its top; I can eat any type of it every day without being bored!
A frugal meal suitable also for vegetarians and vegans; and regarded as poor man’s food, entirely made from your pantry, filling and most importantly delicious and nutritious. Serve it with fattoush, Middle Eastern salad or even some plain yogurt on the side! And I tell you, it is a meal fit for a king!!
Today's post is about mujadara with bulgur. Actually there are two types of mujadara with bulgur; one topped with caramelized onions (mujadarat burgul), and that’s the one I am sharing here for today’s post, and the other one is cooked with carmelized onions giving the lentils and bulgur their typical brown color and it’s called (mujadara hamra). Mujadara Hamra is typically a southern Lebanese dish. I have left out the mujadara hamra and the other mujadaras for you to check them out in my book. I have shared them all!!
Now back to the mujadara with bulgur!!And let’s get started!!
Mujadara with bulgur is an aromatic bulgur and lentil pilaf topped with caramelized onions that bring out a sweet flavor and will fill your kitchen with a mouth-watering aroma – the wonderful smell will invade your neighbor’s kitchen and will attract them to your front door!
I remember my son Ali used to pick the caramelized onions off the top of the plate and eat them as chips - yes they are crunchy; caramelizing onions may be tricky to make for lots of people but once you get this down, you will be putting them on merely everything! The secret behind the crunchiness is by using red onions! A tip that has been given to me by my cherished mom –she has been and still a very skilled cook and I didn’t know how valuable those hints were until I got out into the real world of cooking!
Just a showcase to have a wider idea about these insanely delicious and the innumerable mujadra dishes we have in Lebanon. Check the photos below!
1-Mujadara hamra: A popular lentil and bulgur pilaf and a specialty of southern Lebanon. The typical pilafs in the south rely heavily on bulgur and bulgur has had an important place on the table of southern Lebanon. Ladies there take pride in mastering mujadara hamra. The end result should be firm and separate, never sticky or clumped together, with a dark brown color tint. The ingredients work together with no need to any spice. The recipe is in the book, Hadia Lebanese Style Recipes Page 140
2- Mujadara Makboussa or some call it mousafayeh, a heart and a slow cooked mujadara that makes a sort of a thick soup rather than a dreid pilaf. The recipe needs longer cooking time than all other mujadara recipes.
3- Mujadara with rice and this has another name (Moudardara): A lentil and rice pilaf topped with crispy caramelized onions and a popular dish throughout Lebanon and the Middle East. The recipe in the book, Hadia, Lebanese Style Recipe page 139
4- Mujadara Safra/ Split Lentils with Rice: An easy to put mujadara that features split red lentils. I have always had this with radishes and tomato wedges. A couple of years ago, I ordered mujadara safra at Al Ajami restaurant in Paris; they garnished the top with pomegranate seeds. I loved the contrast of the sweet pomegranates with the savory mujadara. The recipe in the book, Hadia, Lebanese Style Recipes. Page 140
5-Mujadara with bulgur. Not to be confused with mujadara hamra. Here is another type of mujadara with bulgur. A lentil and bulgur pilaf topped with caramelized onions. Recipe below!
How to caramelize onions:
In a wide skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and cook about 10 minutes, stirring all the time
Cook about 10 minutes, stirring all the time. At this stage onions start wilting.
Reduce heat to low and continue to cook and scrape until the onions are rich brown in color. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and set aside. (You will later top the dish with those onions you caramelized)
- 1 cup brown lentils, preferably the small lentils
- ¾ cup coarse bulgur
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped, to cook together with the lentils and bulgur
- 3 large red onions, julienne, to caramelize
- A dash of cumin powder, optional
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Visually sort the lentils. Wash and drain and place in a pot. Add 3 cups of water and bring to boil; cover and let it simmer over very low heat for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Transfer the lentils to a colander and save the excess liquid.
- To caramelize the onions: In a wide skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and cook about 10 minutes, stirring all the time. At this stage onions start wilting. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook and scrape until the onions are rich brown in color. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and set aside. (You will later top the dish with those onions you caramelized) Transfer the oil in the skillet to a stockpot; add the chopped onion to the stockpot and sauté to a light brown color.
- Stir in the lentils, bulgur and 11/2 cups of the lentil broth (you saved before), salt and cumin powder and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover up and simmer for 25 minutes, allowing the bulgur to cook and the flavors develop together.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the caramelized onions. Serve with fattoush or oriental salad. Enjoy!!
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition!They are rich in dietary fiber, protein and folate; bulgur too has too many health benefits, a grain that is extremely high in fiber and protein.
If you are obssesed with bulgur and clean eating, most probably you will enjoy our bulgur recipes:
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Simplicity at its best!!