Istanbul Mujaddara-style Salad with Garlic Yoghurt

Mujaddara (also known as majadra, mejadra, moujadara, mudardara, and megadarra) is a super-umami-flavoured Levantine dish of brown lentils mixed with wholegrain basmati rice, caramelised onions and gently toasted whole spices including cumin and coriander seeds. It is usually served hot with the onion as a garnish; however, for the people who came to sample my Istanbul-inspired menu at the School House Gallery last week, I adapted it slightly to create a sumptuous bowl of wholegrain that could be eaten at room temperature. It was a big hit so I am sharing the recipe with you here. You’re welcome!

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Ingredients

150g brown lentils
150g wholegrain basmati rice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
15g butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
Half tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Sea salt, to your taste
Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnishing

For the garlic yoghurt:
250ml Greek yogurt
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

How I make it

Rinse the lentils and rice separately. Place them in separate saucepans, cover and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer until they’re cooked, stirring occasionally (the rice will take around 20 minutes with the lentils taking a little longer so check both after 15 minutes and keep checking until they’re done).

Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, spring onions, garlic and olive oil. Place in a bowl, cover and pop it into the fridge.

When the lentils and rice are cooked, drain and rinse under a cold running tap to stop the cooking process. Transfer to a large bowl and mix.

Meanwhile, add the butter and oil to a large hot frying pan. When the butter has melted, add the spices and stir around for a couple of minutes.

Add the onions and coat them in the spice mixture. Turn the heat right down, cover and allow the onions to cook very slowly until they are soft, spicy and unctuous, about 30 minutes. Season to taste.

Mix the spiced onions into the rice and lentil mixture. Season again if you need to. Allow to cool before scattering with chopped parsley leaves and serve at room temperature with chilled garlic yoghurt and wedges of lemon.

Please check out my Pantry and Source pages to discover more about the ingredients I use, the brands I love and the places I source them from.

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