Falling in love with Lebanese

Well I haven’t made a post in quite a while, we finally went on our vacation to Halifax, and it’s taken some time to get back into the swing of things.

On that note the trip was GREAT! Although I may have been blasphemous, as I really didn’t eat much fish while there, and they’re all about their lobster.

Sorry guys! I DID have some great calamari, and some fish and chips (but I do live on the west coast, and I enjoy those regularly here)

Regardless, one thing I REALLY enjoyed and ABSOLUTELY fell in love with, was Lebanese food! There is a very large Lebanese population in Halifax, and their food is amazing! We went to this well known place, in a food court,(I kid you not) called Ray’s.

Everybody loves Ray's!

We shared a chicken combo plate!

It was SO good we got seconds of our favourites, the lentil/rice dish and this cabbage dish. Michael loves banana peppers and asked if he could have some on the side.

And this was where I fell in love!  The rice/lentil dish was perfect! Subtlety spiced, with tender lentils and onion specked throughout. The cabbage dish was AWESOME as well. (but I’m polish and loving cabbage is supposed to be instinctual.)

So when we came home I did some research online and found out that the lentil dish was called “Mujaddara” (there were numerous spellings as well and I apologize for misspelling.) But I unfortunately could not find what the cabbage dish was. I then found some recipes and decided to try and make it!

There were many recipes online, but I found one on Epicurious that seemed to represent what I had tried. I picked this one because it included spices as well, some recipes for this dish only had onion/lentil and rice. Which I felt was leaving out some key ingredients, but I could be wrong.

Lebanese Lentil-and-Rice Pilaf with Blackened Onions

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed, picked over
  • 3/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 large onions, sliced

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add broth 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.

The only thing I omitted was the cumin, as I didn’t have any on hand, and the blackened onions at the end. I felt there were well enough onions in the dish already.
IT WAS GREAT! It tasted so close to what I had in Halifax it actually made my night. I was very proud of myself and I will definitely make it again. Maybe with cumin this time!



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