Jul 15, 2013

Mmm Mmm Mjeddrah

It's probably strange to be thinking about hot food on a day like this (92 degrees fondly fahrenheit), but I've been reading an assortment of recipes for Mjeddrah, and it is interesting to see the variety of interpretations.

Mjeddrah is one of my go-to recipes and for years I've used the one I learned from "Diet for a Small Planet" and it has worked well both as a main course and as a base for other foods. You can even use it to make a kind of veggie burger. The recipe was simple, cook rice and lentils together with some herbs, spices and stock to get yourself a mess of pottage.

When you have a recipe that works, you can sometimes take it for granted. I did. I recently got hold of an Arabic cookbook and found two recipes in it that were interestingly different. The first one substituted bulghur for the rice, added chilis, tomato sauce, and yoghurt. It is an intentionally soupy mixture rather than the dense starchy mass that I was used to. It was delicious, and I solved the yoghurt problem by blending some silken tofu with lemon juice. I have no proportions for this last since it was done by taste.

The second recipe deconstructed the mixture into concentric circles. The outermost circle is rice, within that is a circle of red lentils and at the bullseye a mass of crispy fried onions. I haven't tried this one yet, but what's not to like?

Then I found a third recipe. This one boils the lentils until soft then puree them. Add some water and boil the puree then add a mixture of rice and bulghur. Chop some onions into small pieces and fry them in oil until golden and crispy. When the rice is almost done add the onions. Serve it with shredded green onion and radishes.

The radishes in my garden are nearly ready, so maybe I'll try that last recipe when the heat wave breaks.

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