Enjedra is a variation of mujaddara, a  popular Middle Eastern dish. While there may be subtle differences among various cuisines (it’s also known as moujadara, mejadra, mudardara, megadarra, Μουκ̌έντρα, müceddere, مجدرة‎, or מג’דרה, depending on where you are), but, as far as I can tell, they all boil down to the same thing: spiced rice and lentils with caramelized onions. Okay, I’ve got your attention now. Unless you left after the foreign language tutorial, that is.

While the classic mujaddara consists of whole lentils and brown rice tossed together, I’ve always made the lentils separately, as a sort of stew that’s served over brown rice. I usually pair my enjedra with steamed kale or spinach, so I like having a saucier lentil component with which I can drench the greens.

The great thing about this dish (besides the fact that it’s so forking delicious) is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Lentils, onions, rice, olive oil, a few spices. If you call yourself a vegan and don’t have these ingredients on hand at all times, then you have bigger problems to worry about, and you should probably go deal with them. Just kidding! I’m not that mean.

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and cinnamon pair beautifully with the earthy lentils and cumin, creating a melt-in-your-mouth savory stew that will draw crowds–or in the case of my house, family members armed with spoons eating it cold out of the fridge.

(Adapted from VegWeb)
Serves 4

2 medium-large sweet onions
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water (you may need to add more as lentils cook)

Get your brown rice started (however you normally cook it). For newbies, add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Slice the onions. You can dice them if you want, but I like to have long caramelized pieces.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high, toss onions into the  pan with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (I know it seems like a lot of salt–and it is when it’s just onions–but remember that you’re seasoning for the entire pot of lentils!)

Sauté in olive oil until caramelized-ish, about 10-15 minutes.

Add lentils and water to the onion mixture.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked through, and you have yourself a big, smooshy pot of fragrant deliciousness. When stirred towards the end, the lentils should be fairly smooth.

If serving with greens, steam them now.

Top your rice with greens, and then pile on the lentils! Last but not least, come back here to thank me.

Sometimes, I double the batch because it’s so easy, and you’ll definitely want more when you’re finished. But don’t take my word for it! Go raid your pantry and amaze your loved ones.


28 responses to “Enjedra

  1. This recipe looks amazing, thanks so much for sharing! I love anything with lentils and lots of onions. Yum! :)

  2. I. Die. This is my absolute favourite kind of food. Guessig I’ll come back to thank you in maximum a day or two.

  3. This looks very simple and tasty. We’ll be having this SOON! Thanks, in advance!!! :)

  4. I love how simple this recipe is – looks delicious!

  5. I love your witty postings with awesome photographs. I came across this blog: http://foppish-baker.blogspot.com/2006/06/ugly-breakfast-rolls.html while searching for breakfast rolls. Love of P & P is only the first thing you may have in common with this blogger!

  6. Lynne & Jack Janelle

    Nora, this was just the best and we are here to thank you so much for sharing it with us. Even our 2 year old grandson, Mikie loved this. I am enjoying your insights and especially the photos. They really inspire drools of the hungry sort. Your parents are exceedingly proud of you….and we are happy to say we knew you back when you turned up your nose at the smuckers pb and jelly mixture I brought to the camping trip.

    Much love

  7. I love the way you think! It is genius to make saucey lentils separate from the rice…I agree, it is a great idea to drench the greens in the sauciness (saucy-ness?). I’ve made something very similar to this dish from Veganomicon, but the cookbook didn’t provide the lovely historical intro that you did. :) I am the one who never has onions on hand! I have one shallot, but I definitely tend to live life without onions. I hate peeling the flaky part off of the outside – it gets everywhere! And it makes my cutting boards stink!

  8. I love love LOVE enjedra. LOVE. You cannot go wrong with lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. It is so simple, so hearty, and SO delicious. Reminds me of my childhood!

    Your photos are stunning and your recipe looks great. I’m going to give it a try for sure!

  9. I’ve never had enjedra but it looks wonderful! I’ll have to add this to the list of things to make.

  10. probably a silly question: how much water do you add with the lentils? (I’m the type that likes do follow recipes, not the type who likes to improvise!)
    ~ Ingrid

  11. This looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to make it!

  12. I know that lentil soup and ful made from broad (or fava) beans are particularly popular dishes in the Middle East and have made these both on many occasions.
    I haven’t come across enjedra but it looks tasty and simple to prepare.

    Have you tried making ful? It’s a national dish in Egypt and easy to make.



  13. Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I think your blog is so charming… I love everything from the name to the commentary to the awesome photographs that make my mouth water. It was really great to meet you last night and I’m going to share the wealth and put up a link to your blog from my page!

    • Oh my gosh, Sarah, thank you! You’re too nice! It was great to meet you too, and I loved your site. I’m going to find you on facebook too (is it less creepy to fb stalk if I tell you in advance?) I see we both shoot with a 7D too! :)

  14. This looks so wonderful! I know I’ve seen a dish like this before and have meant to make it for the longest time, but I always seem to forget. Thanks for the reminder, and your pictures are beautiful!

  15. This looks unreal- I want to go to there! This will be getting made soon! We have Walla Walla onions now and they are so sweet, they will caramelize perfectly for this!

  16. This looks fantastic! I love soupy lentil dishes and cannot wait to try this one out! I have yet to add cinnamon to a dish like this so I also can’t wait to try that. It looks so comforting in that picture with the steamed greens.

  17. That looks so tasty! I’m not normally a fan of lentils, but with spices and caramelized onions, I’m on board. :-)

  18. I made this for dinner last night. Excellent! A bit salty (truth-be-told, I am a salt wimp!) Simple and satisfying. I agree with so many posts above mine, your photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  19. yummy! I finally got around to making this. I’m on a tight budget, so it’s perfect: tasty & cheap!

  20. Pingback: With a little help from my friends, I make decisions. « Bowen appetit!

  21. This looks unreal- I want to go to there! This will be getting made soon! We have Walla Walla onions now and they are so sweet, they will caramelize perfectly for this!

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