Mejadra Rice
Serves: 4 servings
  • ½ cup green lentils (or brown, but NOT duPuy or Beluga)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cane sugar
  • ⅔ cup white basmati rice
  • For Serving:
  • Plain Greek yogurt (optional, but I was surprised how much I liked it)
  • Fresh herbs, I used mint
  • Crispy shallots (I sauteed some in a skillet with olive oil)
  • Ground Cayenne (it's really hot!)
  1. Put the lentils in a cast-iron petite French oven, add water to cover, then add the bay leaves and salt. Place over medium heat, bring to a low boil and boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils have softened but still have a little bite. Drain reserving ¾ cup of the cooking water.
  2. Heat the oil in a 4-quart cast-iron cocotte and add the onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion takes on a golden brown color.
  3. Add the turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, and sugar and cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the cooked lentils and reserved lentil stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and simmer for 11 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and cover the pot with a clean, dry tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes to let the rice rest and absorb all the flavors.
  5. Serve the rice topped with yogurt, crispy shallots, a sprinkle of cayenne, and herbs.
Recipe by Pamela Salzman at