Sunday, May 9, 2010


Emjheddera is kind of like Arabic mac & cheese. Or maybe more like spaghetti and sauce. It's what you always keep ingredients on hand for and make when you run out of time or don't feel like making something complicated.

We love it, though, and I like to serve it (usually with a roasted chicken) when we have guests from the States (or other Western countries; not to be discriminatory). It's also my go-to recipe when people ask me for an Arabic recipe they can make, since it doesn't require an Arabic spice mix, just cummin. Don't know why I haven't posted it before.

This is the bare bones, basic Arabic kitchen recipe. I'm sure there are some cookbook versions out there with fancy twists. Feel free to elaborate.


serves 4-5
traditional Arabic gheda (lunch)
excellent source of protein when eaten with leban (plain yogurt)

1 C lentils, rinsed
2 C rice, rinsed
1/4 - 1/2 C olive oil
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1-2 med onions, chopped
1 T butter

Place rice in bowl with water to cover 1 - 1 1/2 inches. Soak 30 mins.

Meanwhile, place lentils in 2 qt. pan with water to cover 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes. Lentils should be cooked but not mushy. Drain.

Place 2 1/2 C water, oil, salt and cumin in 4 qt. sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Drain rice. Add rice and lentils to boiling, seasoned water. Simmer 8-10 mins.

Sauté onions in butter. Use to top lentils and rice.

Serve with Arabic Salad (diced tomatoes and cucumbers with a little vinegar, oil and some dried mint; minced onions are optional) and leban (plain yogurt, slightly runny and slightly tart).

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