Linda Dalal Sawaya, Memories of a Lebanese Garden, Saudi Aramco World, January/February 1997.

This is a favorite from childhood, when I used to pretend that the brown mujaddrah was the earth and the green salad on top of it was the vegetables I was growing. The mixture is delicious with bread and provides complementary proteins. The caramelized onions lacing the top of the dish elevate this simple, nutritious food to gourmet status.

1 cup chopped onion
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup brown or white rice
1 cup lentils
3 onions, julienned
4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Sauté chopped onions in olive oil until slightly brown. Wash lentils and rice. If you use brown rice, add both lentils and rice to onions and sauté a few minutes more. Add water, salt and cayenne. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 1½ hours. (If you use white rice, add it to the pot after the other ingredients have simmered for nearly an hour.) Stir from time to time and add water if necessary: mujaddrah can be made as dry as rice or as wet as a thick porridge. While the lentils and rice simmer, julienne the three onions and sauté them in olive oil, first on high heat, stirring constantly, then slowly until they are dark brown. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold, heaped on a platter with the caramelized onions scattered on top.

Linda Dalal Sawaya

(Use Mujaddrah to make a salad by adding 2 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 small chopped onion, 1 large green pepper, some parsley, and season with salt, lemon or vinegar and, if desired, a crushed clove of garlic.)