Friday, February 25, 2011

Citation needed

My food supply is running low, and when that happens, I usually turn to dal. For some reason, though, I just don't think I could look a teaspoon of turmeric in the face right now. And I want caramelized onions. Solution: mujaddara, which consists of lentils and rice cooked together and lightly spiced with caramelized onions spooned over them. Fun fact: I turned to Wikipedia for well-cited information as to the origins of mujaddara (answer: "Levantine"), only to find that there is a "mujaddara in literature" section of the page. Apparently, the dish is a big deal in what Wikipedia confidently asserts is "the first Arab-American novel." In any case, mujaddara is simple to make. Cook equal parts lentils and brown rice (I like brown because it cooks more on the lentils' timescale) in a pot; for each cup, add a pinch each of cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, caramelize some onions in an indulgent amount of olive oil. Top the lentils and rice with the onions. I also had a salad with lemon juice and sesame oil.

I have some leftover "saffron broth" from the risotto, so I used just enough to hint at the spice's fragrance in the cooking liquid, and I mixed a few drops with the last few spoonfuls of sour cream to make a yogurt topping that did not work at all on the mujaddara. So I added a little honey and some cardamom and some almonds and called it dessert. Don't judge.

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