#VeganRamadan: Cook up a lentil feast with Palestinian mudardara
One of the lentil-heavy dishes used is called mudardara – made out of lentils and bulgur wheat, it’s high in protein and fibre and has the power to leave you full.
The earthy delicacy is often served with sides of yoghurt, salad, or a tomato sauce called daqous.
The most important thing when making this is making sure the bulgur wheat is coarse as opposed to soft. If it’s soft, it will melt into the dish and you’ll end up with a mainly lentil dish. Soft bulgur wheat is what is used when making the famous salad taboulleh.
If you don’t have any bulgur wheat, there’s no reason to fret. You can use a rice and lentil dish with similar steps and it will still be a traditional dish called mujadara. The only real difference in the steps is you let the rice cook first because it takes longer to cook.
In Egypt, mujadara is mixed with pasta and topped with daqoos and fried onions -- creating a dish called koshari.
There are many ways to make mudardara, but this slow way leaves less time in the kitchen and allowing the lentils to soak in water before cooking leaves them less vulnerable to splitting when transferred to the stove.
This recipe serves four.
Ingredients for mudardara
1 1/2 cup lentils
1 1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1 large onion
1/2tbsp garlic powder
1tsp cumin powder
3tbsp olive oil
1. Wash the bulgur and lentils separately and soak them in separate bowls for at least an hour
2. Chop up the onions into small sized cubes. With a teaspoon of oil, fry them gently until they are see-through and caramelised. Remove 3/4 of the onions and allow the remaining quarter to burn for the topping. Set aside separately
3. In a clean pot, bring back the caramelised onions, add half a litre of boiling water and gradually add all of the spices. Taste the water to your liking.
4. Drain and add the lentils and add enough water so the lentils are just about cover and leave to simmer on medium heat for around 7 minutes until the lentils start to soften.
The time it takes to soften depends on how long they have been soaked prior, so take note how they feel before putting them in to boil as a baseline to judge.
5. Once the lentils have started to soften, mix in the bulgur wheat and allow to cook for an extra 10-15 minutes, depending on how soft the lentils are. If the water has evaporated faster than the time the mudardara needs to cook, feel free to add more a bit at a time.
6. Once cooked, mix in the olive oil and cover for around 5 minutes so everything is soft and fluffy.
Ingredients for daqous:
1 can chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
1tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder of your choice
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste (if you can’t taste because of fasting, start with two pinches and mix in more after iftar – salt and pepper don’t need heat to cook)
1. Gently fry the garlic until it’s golden.
2. Add the canned chopped tomatoes and the seasonings and heat on medium heat, mixing often until it reaches a boil.
3. Take off heat and add extra seasonings to taste.
Serve together, with a healthy salad and enjoy! If you're vegan and you want to have yoghurt instead of daqous, you can opt for soya or coconut yoghurt.
Diana Alghoul is a journalist at The New Arab.
Follow her on Twitter: @SuperKnafeh and Instagram for more recipes and wellness: @flowerknafeh