If Fuul bil-Riz is the most literal version of Arab beans and rice, Mujaddara/Mujaddarah/Mujadra/Megadarra* is the spiritual equivalent.  A staple dish in many communities (especially those for whom meat is a luxury), this dish is commonly made with brown lentils and bulgur, although sometimes rice is used rather than bulgur.  The key is: 1) right proportions of bulgur to lentils; 2) getting the timing right, so the lentils don’t turn to mush but the bulgur ends up nice and tender; and 3) the caramelized onions.

I like this dish; it’s simple, tasty, nutritious and made in one-pot, good for these days.

*Of course this name is transliterated from the Arabic, thus there is no set way to spell it.  Just like there is no set way to cook it!


  • 2 large onions
  • 4 Tbsp. oil (I say use whatever kind you like)
  • 1 cup brown/green lentils
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • 4 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups coarse-ground bulgur
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is why I clean the lentils: pebbles and rice and who knows what else...sometimes I have even found bugs crawling in unopened bags of lentils!

Caramelize your onions in a large cooking pot, and when they are done set to the side.

Pour your cleaned lentils into the pot, stir for a minute in the oil; add water or stock and allspice, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until lentils are crunchy-soft.

Add bulgur, salt and pepper, and stir well.  Return to the boil, cover and turn heat to low until bulgur and lentils are both tender.

Stir in caramelized onions.

For a few more takes on Mujaddara, see:

Syrian Foodie in London

Taste of Beirut

Orange Blossom Water


  1. This is my favorite version; something about the bulgur! its flavor permeates the dish making it silky smooth and so so comforting!

  2. Sorry to sound stupid, but what is bulgur?

    • It’s not a stupid sounding question at all. Actually, I had no idea what bulgur was until we came to the Middle East. According to my little widget dictionary, bulgur is “a cereal food made from whole wheat partially boiled and then dried.” It comes in difference coarsenesses–finely ground for tabouleh, coarsely ground for pilafs. It has a lot of fiber and protein and a nice nutty flavor, and I think would work well as a rice substitute in many dishes.

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