The obligatory “last post of the year” post is here! 2016 here we coooooome!
I have some house moving to do (new house, yeah!) for the next month so this might be the last recipe for a while, so it’d better be a good one, right? Well, I happened to buy a treasure of a book not very long ago and I fell in love with it straight away. Jerusalem by Y. Ottolenghi and S. Tamimi is a must have for many reasons: the recipes sound fantastic, the photography is awesome and all the stories and information behind the recipes and the city of Jerusalem are just fascinating. I keep finding myself flicking through Jerusalem just because I can. I am hooked, I would cook every recipe out of it and I just couldn’t decide what until one particular dish caught my attention: Mejadra.
Why Mejadra? Point one: I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Point two: I love lentils. Point three: I finally had an excuse for frying onions! Yes, your kitchen will smell a bit but if I say it’s worth it, you have to trust me! Look at them, look how golden they are – I might be insane but fried onions are the definition of beauty indeed <3
Oh, and why Mejadra for my last post of the year? New Year’s eve is approaching and we Italians like to eat lentils on this special day. This could be an exciting and tasty (and vegan too!) alternative to the classic lentils and zampone, it can be cooked beforehand and it’s just as yummy whether served hot or cold. And don’t forget it makes the perfect office meal on the next day!
Why Mejadra? Point one: I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Point two: I love lentils. Point three: I finally had an excuse for frying onions!
Sooooo…..this is definitely what you should eat at Midnight. Or at any time of the day, every day. I am serious, this dish I can never get enough of. On this note I wish you a wonderful 2016 filled with food and happy things! And here’s the recipe for Mejandra, coming straight from Jerusalem and The Guardian
Ingredients (serves 4)
250ml sunflower oil
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
250g green or brown lentils
2 tsp cumin seeds
1½ tbsp coriander seeds
200g basmati rice
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp ground allspice
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
Salt and black pepper
Heat the sunflower oil in a medium-size heavy-based saucepan. When very hot, carefully add a third of the sliced onion. Fry until it takes on a nice, golden-brown colour and turns crispy, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon. Use the spoon to transfer the onion to a colander and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining onion in 2 separate batches.
Meanwhile, put the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil and cook until soft but with still a bit of bite. Strain the lentils and put aside.
Drop in the cumin and coriander seeds in a heavy based pan, place over a medium heat and toast the seeds for a minute or two, until they release those distinctive aromas. Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. Stir to coat the rice with oil, then add the cooked lentils and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat, lift off the lid and cover the pan with a clean tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Finally, tip the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl. Add half the fried onion and stir gently with a fork. Pile up in a shallow serving bowl and top with the rest of the onion.