Lebanese Lentil-and-Rice Pilaf with Blackened Onions - Mdardra

This is an easy, fantastic and flavorful way to enjoy the benefits of protein. Mdardara or lentils with rice is a vegetarian Lebanese dish, but it's not just plain rice and lentils. This dish tastes amazing because it's all topped with caramelized onions. This was my favorite dish when mom used to make it, and back then we did not know how healthy and good it is.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 5):
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
4 cups of water or vegetable stock
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 cup long grain white rice
2 large onions sliced for decoration

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, garlic cloves, cumin, cinnamom and allspice, sauté until onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add water or stock and lentils, bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in rice; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender, about 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions, sauté until soft and beginning to blacken, about 20 minutes.

Season pilaf to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates; top with blackened onions. Serve this dish with plain yogurt.

Mdardara - Lentilles au riz et aux oignons caramélisés
Ingrédients (4 à 5 personnes):  
4 càs d'huile d'olive 
1 oignon haché 
3 gousses d'ail émincées 
2 càc de cumin 
3/4 càc de cannelle 
1/2 càc de 4-épices 
1 litre d'eau ou de bouillon de légumes 
1 verre de lentilles lavées 
1 verre de riz à grain long 
2 oignons émincés pour la décoration

Faites chauffer à feu moyen 2 càs d'huile dans une marmite, ajoutez les oignons, l'ail, le cumin, la cannelle et les 4-épices et faites-les revenir 4 mn jusqu'à ce que l'oignon soit transparent. Ajoutez l'eau ou le bouillon, portez à ébullition puis réduisez le feu et laissez cuire à couvert 10 mn . Ajoutez le riz, portez à ébuliition, réduisez le feu et laissez cuire à couvert jusqu'à absorption du liquide, environ 15 mn de plus.

Pendant ce temps, faites chauffer 2 càs d'huile dans une poêle, ajoutez les oignons émincés et faites revenenir à feu moyen jusqu'à caramélisation, environ 20 mn.

Assaisonnez le riz et les lentilles de sel et de poivre. Transférez dans un plat et décorez d'oignons caramélisés. Servez avec un yaourt nature.


  1. Hello Cherine,
    I love this dish. The caramelized onions add lots of flavor. I'm gonna try this very very soon!!

  2. That looks so tasty! Lebanese food is wonderful!



  3. Mdardara is a great dish, my aunt Wadad used to make a relly good one. It is not my forte, I prefer the other one with burghul.

  4. @ Rosa, thank you. Your blog is GREAT!!

    @ Jumana, mdardara is always better with a yogurt. :)

  5. Chicho,
    When we come to Paris, can you please make this for me!
    I am addicted to lentils, but they are always best in Paris!
    We love to eat Lebanese food in France.

  6. Stacey, you're more than welcome in paris and in lebanon!! :)

  7. I think that it is really good, for example I have been trying to cook similar things in my free time, I want to be a chef, your blog help me a little be to learn many different recipes!!22dd22dd

  8. Delicious. We have made this 3-4 times and it's always so good. I double the amount of blackened onion because you can never have too many. :-)


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