Far-East Majadra – Far Out

This one is a real favorite. It’s very easy to make but looks and tastes awesome. Majadra is a Middle-Eastern dish that is basically made of rice, green lentils, caramelized onions, and spices. The Far-East version contains a slightly different spice blend, giving an old favorite a new twist. It gets its oriental flavors from curry and soy sauce, rather than the cumin used in the usual version.

Please don’t let the list of ingredients scare you off of making this recipe! It looks like a long list, but it’s mostly spices!

I like to serve it in the pot it was cooked in and in layers of ingredients, but you are welcome to mix it all together (but you didn’t need me to tell you that, did you?)

Far-East Majadra:

Serves: 6
Estimated Time: 8 hours soaking or 45 minutes boiling + 45 minutes cook
Kosher Classification: Neutral


For Rice Layer:
2 cups white rice
2 cardamom pods
1 tsp table salt

For Lentil Layer:
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
500 grams dry green lentils
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
2 Tbs. yellow curry powder
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp coarse sea salt

For Onion Layer:
3 large onions
1 Tbs. brown sugar


Start by preparing the lentils. If you have learned anything from this blog so far, then you, like me, constantly have some kind of grain or legume on stand-by, either soaked or already sprouting, on your kitchen counter.

If not, that’s okay! Lentils are a pretty lenient legume that doesn’t require pre-soaking to cook well. Simply rinse them and boil them, changing the water with fresh ones every time they come to a boil. Do this until the lentils are soft enough to bite through. See? Now you have ready-to-use lentils, just like all the cool kids.

To make the rice, start by heating a bit of oil in a medium pot, throwing in the cardamom pods, and crushing the heck out of them(!) with a wooden spoon, so that their wonderful flavor comes out.

Add the rice and salt to the pot and stir until each grain of rice is wet and starts to look a bit more clear rather than powdery white. Add the water and bring to a boil.

When the water is bubbling, lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. After those 15 minutes, turn off the flame and wait with the lid still on another 15 minutes. Resist the urge to take a peek. Your rice will thank you later.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the lentils.

Heat a large pan or wok over medium heat. Toss the lentils with the spices that go with them.

Add the soy sauce and the white wine and stir some more.

If the rice isn’t finished by now, move on to caramelizing the onions. If the rice is finished, fluff it a bit with a fork, pour the lentils onto it and smooth out into a layer, and then move on to caramelizing the onion.

Slice the onions thinly and saute in a large pan over medium heat. When they turn golden brown, add the tablespoon of brown sugar, increase the heat and keep stirring to finish the caramelizing process. This last part should only take about 2 minutes.

Scoop the caramelized onions onto the lentil-layer and spread it out so that it covers the lentils completely.

Serve hot.

In A Nutshell:

  1. Rinse the lentils. Soak for at least eight hours, or use the boiling method.
  2. Prepare the rice: heat a bit of oil in a medium pot and crush cardamom into it.
  3. Add rice and salt and stir. Add water and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and leave the lid on for another 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make lentils: heat lentils in a large pan or wok over medium heat and add spices.
  6. Add soy sauce and white wine and stir well.
  7. After rice is ready, scoop lentils onto it and spread the layer.
  8. Slice the onions thinly and caramelize them, adding the brown sugar right at the end.
  9. Scoop the caramelized onions onto the lentil layer.
  10. Serve hot.

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