Mujedarra, Syrian Rice and Lentil Pilaf

Published February 19, 2018

The most asked-for #Syrian dish is Mujedarra, that Rice and Lentil pilaf that’s loved by everyone in the #MiddleEast! Each region in the Levant has their own version of this dish, including #Aleppo.

Through the early years, I had tried to duplicate my Sitto’s perfect Mujedarra. She had given me sketchy instructions so many years ago. A handful of this or that was the extent of her directions. Those early cooks worked alongside their relatives and worked in ratios, so there was never a need to measure. It was a watch and learn for them through the generations. Along came my generation and we weren’t always living with our grandparents. So this method of cooking was often lost. It was pretty frustrating for me through those early “trial and error” days until I began to take Sitto’s handful of rice and put it into a measuring cup! This became my method of documenting these recipes in my little notebook which then became my first cookbook.

Years later, with the printing of the cookbooks, I discovered that there is some confusion about Mujedarra. My grandmother, Sitto Naima, made Mujedarra with a rice base and sometimes with a Bulgar Wheat base but always with brown lentils. Sitto would call the rice version Mujedt’iL Riz and the Bulgar Wheat version as Mujedarra. This may be the reason for the confusion, as most people know them both as Mujedarra, each with wonderful, thinly-sliced, caramelized onions mixed in and atop them. They are both memorable and you’ll find they’re a humble meal-in-itself! Each version has its own fans and if you haven’t already tried them, I would suggest you do! Look for them under their English names of Lentil Pilaf (the rice version) and Bulgar Wheat and Lentils (the Bulgar Wheat version) in Sitto’s Kitchen and Sitto’s Kitchen II Cookbooks. They are too good to miss!