Mujendra – Cypriot Lentils & Rice

Thanks to Jane Heaney Hodson from Cyprus for reminding me about this little gem! I first had this dish in a Lebanese restaurant on the Edgeware Rd, then Limassol, Cyprus and then again in Isreal. The blend of cinnamon and cumin really lift this dish and make it a lovely winter warmer. The dishes origins are from the middle east and Cypriot cuisine is full of middle eastern influence.  The addition of caramelised onions on top of this hearty recipe will take it to another level 🙂

For the Caramelised onion:
5-6 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions finely sliced

For the rice & lentils:
2 – 3 tbsps olive oil
1 x  large onion – chopped
11/2 cups of dark brown lentils
11/2 cups of long grain rice
2 x tbsp cumin
2 x tbsp cinnamon
3 x tbsps dried dill
2 x tbsps dried mint
4 cups of water
1- 2 tsp of sea salt
A good grind of black pepper

Start the recipe by caramelising the onions.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. reduce to low and let the onions sweat down and slowly caramelise. (This could take a good 30 mins) set the caramelised onions aside.
While the onions are gently cooking, wash the lentils and add to a pan of water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook until just before cooked. (just softening but not soft) drain and set aside.
In another pan saute the other chopped onion gently until golden brown. Then add in the cooked lentils and stir thoroughly and cook for a few minutes.
Now add in the rice, cumin and cinnamon and combine everything together.
Pour in the water and the salt, reduce heat and put the lid on. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. If the rice is not cooked – add a little more water and cook for a further 10 mins – keeping a close eye on it)
Now plate up for mujendra in a large decorative bowl/plate and add the caramelised onions on top.
This is wonderful served with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

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