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Mujaddara Hamra

Mujaddara Hamra”, which literally translates to “Red Lentils”, is based on cooking lentils with a lot of onions until they are dark and one step before being burnt. Traditionally coarse bulgur is added to the lentils to give a nice texture. This dish is also known as “meat of the poor”, and it is frequently prepared during the months of fasting, by all social classes, given its nutritional value parallel to that of meat. You can eat this dish hot or cold with a side plate of salad or cucumber and yogurt.

In Rmeish, “Mujaddara Hamra” is traditionally prepared on Good Friday: as Easter usually coincides with the tobacco planting season, farmers with their families are busy working in the fields, preparing the land and seeding tobacco. Women who also work in the fields, have enough time to prepare “Mujaddara Hamra” for lunch, a wholesome vegetarian and filling meal full of proteins, iron and fibers, served a “sliqa” salad or salad of green wild edible plants. On Easter Sunday, another simple dish is prepared: “Kibbeh nayye” (raw meat with bulgur) served with “hawseh” a dipping sauce which consists of fried onions and tomatoes.

Mujaddara hamra. Picture ©Joanna Elias

Region: Rmeish, South of Lebanon

Total Servings: 7 (250g/serving)

Calories per serving: 405 calories/250g

*Calories are an estimate based on closely matched ingredients.

Preparation time: 50 mns


1 kilo of red lentils

3 red onions, preferably local “Baladi” onions

1 cup of coarse bulgur

2 liters of water

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of each salt, seven spices and black pepper

Preparation steps:

  1. Under running water, wash the lentils several times, and strain well from the water
  2. After washing the lentils, place them in a cooking pot with 2 liters of water and let them cook for about an hour on medium fire
  3. While lentils are cooking, finely chop the onions then fry them in the vegetable oil in a separate pan, on a medium fire until caramelized
  4. Add a ladle of water from the lentil pot to the caramelized onions and mash the onions with a fork
  5. Incorporate the caramelized onions to the cooked lentils
  6. Add the previously washed bulgur to the lentils and onions, mix well then add the salt and spices
  7. Let simmer on low fire for 15 mns until bulgur is well cooked, while stirring occasionally to avoid the lentils and bulgur from sticking to the bottom of the pot
  8. When bulgur is done, stir in the olive oil before serving
Mujaddara hamra served with eggplant makdous and green onions. Picture © Zein Khatoun

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