Hello, my name is Omayma. I am Palestinian and my real profession is a dentist but I cook with passion especially Palestinian food. My special advise is not to think of cooking if you don’t strive to taste your dish or if you’re not interested in cooking as i strongly believe that this will later on be expressed in taste 🙂
I am pleased to introduce you my Mediterranean recipes. Some of them are Palestinian while others are Lebanese or Syrian. Being Mediterranean, the three cuisines are inter-related.
I will start by a very simple dish, Mjaddara. This is actually called The dish of the poor because it is based on lentil which used to be cheap and rich in iron hence being a meat substitute! Nowadays, nothing is as cheap as it’s used to be before. Mjaddara is similar to the Egyptian Koshari, a bit much simpler in terms of ingredients but the base is the same, lentil, rice and onion.
Having learnt from my grandma and mum, I am actually used to cooking without specifying quantities but for this purpose I’m going to set the exact amount of everything for four people. The other thing you will notice is my way in cooking is a bit folkloric or vulgar. I don’t know or it could be unhealthy but believe me it is these particular hints that make the taste special. You can skip those bits if you want 🙂
Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any queries.
To start we need:
2 cups of rice (it should be the long grain rice but any kind of rice is good as long as you fancy its particular taste)
1 cup of lentil (brown or green lentil but never the orange as the latter is used for making soup)
3 cups of tap water
4 medium sized onion
extra virgin olive oil (I have to say that this is what gives Mjaddara the special rich Arabic taste so be generous 🙂 )
1 table spoon of ground cumin (AKA Jeera)
1 table spoon of salt (1/2 if sea salt)
a pinch of black pepper
1. If long grain rice was used, soak in tap water for at least an hour before cooking.
2. Bring the lentil and water to simmer in a deep sauce pan then turn the fire low. It should not take long time for the lentil to be 3/4 cooked. Try not to cook it completely as it will be cooked again together with the rice.
3. Meanwhile, once you put the lentil on fire, start peeling and chopping the onion into thin strips and using a heated sauce pan, add plenty of extra virgin olive oil in order to caramelise the onions. The onion should take the golden colour before you turn the fire off.
4. Take 1/4 the amount of caramelised onion with all the olive oil used in frying and add them to the lentil and water. Leave the rest of onion to ornament the plates. At this time, lentil should be ready.
5. Drain the water from rice and add the rice to the lentil.
6. Add the salt, pepper and cumin to the rice and lentil.
7. Check if more water is needed to cook the rice (depends on the brand of rice you are using and of course on sensation) and if needed add boiling water then cover the sauce pan and cook on low fire.
8. To the side, you can serve it with Greek style yoghurt or Gazpacho Spanish soup or originally with the following Palestinian salad recipe:
Mind that lentil is an iron source so it needs lemon in order to be absorbed by your body, therefore follow grandma’s instructions and go for salad instead of yoghurt 🙂
tomatoes, onions, one small green chilli, lemon, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil and some dried mint
p.s. ingredients for this salad should be finely chopped
Bon appetit 🙂