Winter chill is in the air and my body is craving warm, simple comforting foods. Dare I call this mujadara, which is a Mediterranean rice pilaf dish with caramelized onions? It is, mostly, but of course I had to flick a few twists on the classic.
Not traditionally cooked in a rice cooker, the less than $20 appliance is one of our favorite kitchen tools (totally not sponsored, I just love this thing). We make all sorts of rice (jasmine, wild, etc), quinoa and couscous and every grain always comes out perfect. No extra pot on the stove and keeps the rice warm as you wait for the rest of your dinner.
I semi-cheated, because you still need another skillet to saute the onions, but everything else, rice, chickpeas and lentils was easily made in the rice cooker. How cool is that??
A few tips I have noticed. When you use the rice cooker, the cook button flips to ‘warm’ and the steam stays trapped in, making the rice stickier. To combat this, I place a few layers of paper towel between the pot and the lid so the extra moisture is not absorbed back in the rice and making the texture a bit more separated.
I have to admit, my favorite part of mujadara is the crispy onions. Take the time and saute them slowly. Let the onions break down their sugars, caramelize and get sticky and sweet. The are the best ornament on top of the aromatic rice and turning ordinary pantry staples into something more glamorous and savory.
Mujadara with Chickpeas and a Twist
- 1 small onion sliced thinly
- Olive oil for sauteing onions
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup brown lentils
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 dried Persian lemons or a few strips of lemon rind, peeled with a vegetable peeler
- Fresh parsley chopped for garnish
- First cook the onions. In a non-stick skillet add a bit of olive oil and the sliced onions. Cook them on medium-low heat until they break down and caramelize and turn golden brown. This could take up to a good 25 minutes.
- Next, rinse the rice lentils and chickpeas well until water runs clear.
- Next add rice, lentils, broth, dried lemons (or lemon rind) and spices and cook in rice cooker until most of the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).
- Then, add the cooked chickpeas and stir together. Top rice cooker with towel and then place lid on top so the extra moisture is absorbed.
- Once rice cooker turns off, fluff everything together, serving with caramelized onions on top and chopped fresh parsley.