Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rice and Lentils with Crispy Onions (Mujaddara)

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Grade: A+

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen TV (Season 15) 
Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (September 2014)

I recently tried a recipe from Food52 that everyone rated very highly for Mujaddara and I was unimpressed. I love lentils, rice and caramelized onions, but the flavor was lacking. All the spices went into the yogurt sauce, which made it gritty to me.

So I decided to finally try ATK's version which had been on my Try list for a while. It did not disappoint. This was really delicious. Yes, it is a lot more work that the Food52 recipe, but probably worth the trouble.

You have to make the crispy onions first, which involves salting and pre-cooking the onions in the microwave, rinsing to remove the salt, then drying them, before frying in a lot of oil. I almost substituted normal caramelized onions instead, but decided to try the original recipe at least once.

The crispy onions are definitely delicious, but I still might go with caramelized onions next time, which I also find delicious. I'd probably use 2 T of fat for the 2 pounds of onions and let them slowly caramelize, but finish up with some high heat to crisp them a bit in parts. It will still take a long time, but will be simpler. Also, I found the onions to be too heavy and filling for me. I actually still felt full from the fat the next morning, which is not a feeling i enjoy.

The yogurt sauce is simpler with just lemon, garlic and salt, and it was perfect. The rice and lentils were much more flavorful as the spices were added when they were cooked together (after par-cooking separately.)

Overall, this is a great recipe. I hope that I can streamline it a bit and make a little faster now that I know what I'm doing. It is very delicious.

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