Friday, June 12, 2015

Mejadra is the latest adventure in the kitchen

The more I cook from the Ottolenghi books, the more I realize that the dishes are well worth the effort since the recipes are big enough for about six meals!  so one big mise en scene, the larger stage into which you do the mis en place, gives me a week's dinners. See what happens when I send away for ze French lentilles, zey come wiz ze language prompts. And, to get back to English,  includes enough to share with friends.



 
 Mejadra has a number of different English versions of the spelling depending on what language you're coming from, but is definitely a widely known Middle Eastern dish, and I can see why.



It's a wild mixture of basmati rice, green lentils (I actually sent away for these, no green ones available here, from France, just bragging) yellow onions and tons of spices, and all takes place in one pot.  You boil the lentils first and have them wait in the wings, while you fry the onions in three batches, there's a lot.

You spend ages doing the onions (this is where a lot of those onions I got the other day for the yellow skins for dyeing, went)  to crispish, then wipe the pan and do the cooked lentils and raw rice and various spices and water, then lid it and simmer for a while, then unlid, cover it with dishtowel (yes, he does say a clean one, what did he THINK we were going to use, but I digress) then lid it again over the towel, and leave it alone for a while before serving.

In my case, in the big dish a friend gave me because his family never uses it.  Chef O. has made me use it about twice a week!




Anyway, here it is, and very filling and all that, interesting crisp and chewy and spicy, but  not very.  Some people might add a dash of salt, I'm light on salt. It's funny to eat, because the first forkful is okay, not very exciting, then as you continue your mouth gets filled with the flavors and you realize you're going to have trouble stopping!

Not much cleanup, either, all done in the 15 minutes of waiting for the rice to finish.  This is a feature chefs never seem to put in the recipe: how many pots, pans, knives, spoons, ladles, wrenches, forks and mops the cook might need before she's done.

2 comments:

dogonart said...

Y'know what, I'm going to hafta buy those cookbooks!

Asha Francis said...

Very intriguing! I like how festive your kitchen is these days, dyeing and all. :)