About Me

I love to keep things fresh. Boredom makes me cringe. I believe in perseverance. Anything new and different inspires me. Photos and stories contained on this blog are my own. I create the majority of my recipes featured as well. If I adapt a recipe or find a great one to share from another source, I will give credit where it is due and a link to the original if at all possible. Please ask prior to using photos, writings and recipes and if using, please link to to the original source. Peace and Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's For Dinner Wednesday? Mujadarah and Tomato Pachadi! Lentil and Rice Pilaf with a Spiced Tomato Yogurt Side

Hello!  Another episode of "What's For Dinner Wednesday?" is upon us and this one is a two for one special.  Here you will find a wholesome warm and cool contrast of the cuisine of two ethnicities, both Lebanese and Indian.  Please don't be afraid to try this if you have never heard of it.  Believe me, you do not have to serve meat with this to feel like you have eaten a feast.  Your senses will be delighted.  This is full of warm seasonings and a spicy but cool side of Tomato Pachadi.  The two alone create a pleasant contrast. A fresh Green salad would be sure complete the balance.

It delights me to post the Mujadarah recipe because it is one that I have worked to perfect for quite some time.  I have eaten Mujadarah at numerous Lebanese restaurants in various states.  This always makes a wonderful side when accompanying some of my other favorite Lebanese dishes, but it makes a fabulous main course as well.  In this instance, I paired it with Tomato Pachadi and warmed Pita Bread.  You can also serve it with a Green Salad, warmed Naan (an Indian bread) and a side of Lebneh (a thick yogurt that can be purchased at Middle Eastern food stores).   For those of you that frequent Lebanese restaurants, I know that you have tasted this before. 

The Tomato Pachadi is a recipe that I created from taste memory.  The mother of an old friend from way back used to make this and I never forgot it.  She introduced and hooked me to Indian food and cooking forever.

Previously I posted a Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Recipe that has the perfect dressing, a vinagrette (see Part 3 of the recipe) to use on any Green Salad.  It would be perfect on a basic green romaine lettuce salad with purple onion, cucumber and tomato to serve alongside this dish.

Experiment and Enjoy.

What's for Dinner Wednesday?  Mujadarah (Lentil and Rice Pilaf) and Tomato Pachadi (Tomato and Yogurt Side)

Let's get to the Mujadarah First!

Recipe:  Mujuadarah

Serves 4

Nest Essentials:  Medium/Large Pot (large enough to cook 1 cup of rice with room to spare), Frying Pan for onions, and a slotted spoon for removing 1/2 of the onions while reserving the olive oil.

Nifty Gadgets:  Nothing special needed to enhance your cooking experience here.  Just your nest essentials.

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Onion (Halved and sliced Horizontally into half-moon shapes)
1 Cup Long Grain Brown Rice, rinsed
3 Cups of Water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup Lentils (plain brown/green lentils), rinsed
2 1/3 Cups Beef Broth
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1) In the frying pan, add olive oil and heat for 2 minutes on medium.  Add the sliced onions and fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown about 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Take 1/2 of the onions, with a slotted spoon, and put on a paper towel to drain.  Reserve the second half and the olive oil in the pan for adding to the rice/lentil mixture.

2) Rinse rice. Boil rice for 7 minutes in 3 Cups of Water. Add Salt to the water. Add Lentils and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

3)  To the Rice and Lentils in the pot, add 2 1/3 Cups Beef Broth and bring back to a boil. 

4) Next add the onions/olive oil still in the pan. Oh, and we can't forget the Cumin. Add this as well.

5)  Cover, turn down the heat and keep at a simmer.  Simmer until the liquid is absorped and rice and lentils are tender.  This should take 25 minutes.  

6)  Turn off heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes to settle and cool a bit. Here it is, liquid absorped prior to fluffing, topping with crisped onions and serving.

7)  Serve topped with the reserved crisped onions. 

Optional: A nice garnish of cilantro or parsley would be nice.  
I hope that you like this recipe.  I happen to love it.  And I love Lebanese food too. 
Do you want to know more about Lebanese Cooking or just want to mix things up a bit in the kitchen by trying something new?  If so, go to the "Best From the Nest Community Store" Link.  There is a great book by Dawn, Elaine & Selwa Anthony called Lebanese Cookbook in the Must Reads section.  With such a straightforward title, you can bet that the recipes are pretty straightforward as well.

And now for the Side Recipe!

Recipe:  Tomato Pachadi (Tomato and Yogurt Side)

Serves 4
Nest Essentials:  A small saute pan

Nifty Gadgets:  A rasp/grater (for the ginger), a splash screen to cover the pan

1 Tblsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
1/4 tsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Mexican Rotel (I know it sounds weird, but it is a slight shortcut)
1/2 Cup Diced Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Plain Yogurt (I used Fage Greek Yogurt 2% rather than whole.  Any plain yogurt will be great.)
1 Tblsp Chopped fresh Cilantro


1)  Warm the olive oil in saute pan on medium heat. 

2)  Add mustard seeds and cover with the splash screen.  Heat until they begin to pop (about 1 minute or so). 

3)  Next add the Ginger, Cumin, Coriander, Salt, Mexican Rotel and Diced Tomatoes and cook down about 3 minutes.   Then, you can use either a wooden spoon or one of my nifty gadgets, a potatoe masher to smash the mixture to release the juices and flavors.

I love my rasp/grater.  It's used so often, I can hardley keep it clean!
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And THIS is the Mexican Rotel.  I know it seems like a strange ingredient, but it has all the flavors that go so well with this.  Cilantro, Tomato, Lime and Hot Green Chili Peppers.  It's perfect.  If you can't find this, you can just add 1/2 finely Chopped Jalapeno Pepper,a couple of squeezes of lime juice and 1/4 Cup additional of canned diced tomatoes.

 And look at this gorgeous mixture of tomatoes, seeds and spices!
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And here's another Nifty Gadget that I would hate to do without!  Great for this and for mashing refried beans, guacamole, mashed potatoes, and surely lots of other good stuff!
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4) Turn off heat and transfer to a seperate bowl.  Allow to cool for 7-10 minutes.
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5)  Mix in the yogurt and cilantro.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  This is delicious served cool.

6)  Serve warmed Pita Bread or Naan (Indian Bread) alongside.  Wrap the Bread in Foil and warm in a 300F Degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

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See ya next Wednesday!

1 comment:

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

I'm not familiar with either of thee dishes but they both look fabulous! :)

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