I originally found this dish on Instagram of all places. Never though I would be making food from Instagram, but I did! I didn’t know what Mejadra was at the time I first saw it. So, I looked it up on google.
It seems like there are many variations on Mejadra depending on the region/country. But in essence, the main ingredients were rice, green lentils and fried onions. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but this is one of those dishes that magically elevates simple ingredients to a whole new level. Like take your tongue on a magic carpet ride level.
After doing a bit more digging, I found there were many variations on the dish. I ultimately settled on one that seemed the most popular- by Yotam Ottolenghi. Yotam Ottolenghi has a cookbook called Jerusalem, as well as several restaurants in London. You can’t go wrong with a professional chef’s recipe, so, I decided to try his version. And it came out a solid winner. I would give this a gold medal.
The cinnamon and cumin shine through, like the sun rays on a partly cloudy day. The caramelized fried onions give you that familiar sweet and salty flavor that only comes from fried onions.
They do take a while to cook so I would recommend you start frying those onions immediately after prepping the lentils on the stove. I think the onions are what brings the dish together. Without them, it just wouldn’t be anything special. Another rice and lentils recipe.
I used olive oil to make it a little healthier and served it with labneh. Labneh is similar to cream cheese, in that it is thick and savory. I could also see the Mejadra being eaten with yogurt or as a side for a meat or fish. I think it’s flexible in that regard.
In summary, the dish came together relatively easily and tasted very good. Aside from the fried onions, I would also say this would be a pretty healthy dish. It wasn’t too heavy either, which I liked. This would be perfect for a weeknight dinner and for someone looking for exotic flavors without a ton of obscure ingredients!
In case you missed them, here are some of my other recipes!
- Nikujaga (Japanese meat and potato stew)
- Japanese Curry with Chicken 🐓 | (Curry rice from scratch)
- Simmered Yellowtail with Daikon Radish (Buri Daikon)
- Japanese Style Steak with Shio Koji
- How to Make Curry Udon
- How to Make Okonomiyaki Hiroshima style
- How to Make Dashi Broth (from katsuobushi and konbu)
- Daikon radish and Konnyaku Miso Dengaku (miso glaze)
- Japanese Cream Stew with Saikyo Miso and Chicken
- Japanese Style Mackerel with Miso and Ginger (misoni)