Don’t let the lackluster appearance of mujaddara fool you — this Lebanese dish is loaded with delicious, aromatic spices that will send you on a mental vacation. One bite will remind you how amazing some of the simplest street-foods can be.
Mujaddara was on my list of things that I wanted to make even before the USA Lentil & Dry Pea people contacted me about creating some recipes. In fact, it’s been on my list ever since the first time I tasted it a few weeks ago. You see, the past few months at work have been a little crazy and I’ve had to put in some long days — working through dinner on several occasions. Luckily, Shawn is awesome and will often save me of having to order pizza or chinese (not that I don’t love those things, but I get sick of them) by bringing me some dinner from the co-ops small, rotating selection of prepared foods. The selection consists mostly of sandwiches, most of which are out of the question since they have mayo on them (ew). So he’ll grab whatever the best looking thing that I’d actually eat is. As you’ve probably guessed by now, one night I was presented with a pita filled with lentils and rice, and a small container of lemon-garlic sauce. I looked at it and wanted to cry. How could this starchy bunch of brown carbs possible taste good? But I was hungry, so I hesitantly took a nibble. And I was blown away. Despite being so starchy, the sandwich was surprisingly light. It was seasoned with cinnamon and coriander — spices that I don’t often experience in savory foods. And the lemon-garlic sauce? It was like a magic potion that brightened the flavor of the whole dish, adding a touch of tartness and a pungent wallop from the garlic.
I devoured that sandwich and knew that I wanted to share the experience with Shawn. So it went on my list. And there it sat for a few weeks, until the Lentil Association gave me the perfect excuse to make it. I’m not sure why I waited so long. And I’m glad I made extra – I’m already looking forward to the leftovers.