Lentils come in many colours, ranging from yellow to orange, green, brown and black. For this recipe I have used green lentils. It is thought that this dish originates from the Arabic world where is known as “Majaddara” meaning “pockmarked”, which resemble the lentils in the rice. In Greek the word “Fakes” means lentils.
Growing up in Cyprus, this was a dish that was cooked regularly and to this day is still a favourite with my family, whenever we want a meat free day. I like to serve this with a fresh coriander (cilantro) salad made up of chopped coriander, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, capers, olive oil and vinegar dressing.
(Lentil and rice pilaf)
1 cup dried green lentils
˝ cup long grain rice
4 medium size onions thinly sliced
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 vegetable stock cube
3 cups of water
1. Rinse the lentils in cold water, drain and place in a heavy based saucepan. Cover with enough cold water and cook on a high heat for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender, but still retain their shape.
2. Drain the lentils, place back in the saucepan and cover with 3 cups of fresh cold water and crumble the vegetable stock cube. Return to a medium heat and let the lentils cook for another 15 minutes, before adding the washed rice.
3. Continuing on a medium heat, allow to cook until all the water is absorbed.
4. In the meantime, heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onions until softened and golden brown.
5. Once the moujentra is cooked, turn off the gas, remove the lid and cover the saucepan with a clean towel, replace the lid and leave for 10 minutes.
6. Remove the tea towel, pour the onions and oil on top of the lentils. Do not stir.
Tips and Suggestions:
- Different oils can be used to fry the onions such as olive oil, rapeseed oil or any other type of vegetable oil.
- Brown lentils can also be used.
- This dish can also be eaten cold.
- Always use the same cup for measuring the ingredients.