One of my favorite things is a combination of rice and beans–or lentils. The top of my list of comfort food (even higher than mac ‘n’ cheese) is mujadara–rice and lentils, and onions. (I discovered that if you want to find this in a Lebanese cookbook you should look for m’jadara, but then, I was not even sure what the dish was called so I didn’t even get close.) Now that I know what I’m looking for, it’s much easier to look in the index!

I’ve found lots of recipes online:

I’m sure that this is one of the dishes that every cook has their own recipe, so I was looking how it was seasoned. There was an amazing range: from salt, pepper, and onions to versions including cumin, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne. Some included lemon juice or zest.

Since I’ve become the proud owner of an Instant Pot (IP for short), I have been experimenting with things like dried beans, rice, and all sorts of meat dishes. I’m convinced that the IP is going to be a good replacement for my Krups multifunction pot.

I had been exposed to pressure cooking ages ago, and by a cooking style that produced everything drab olive green, and by first-generation pressure cookers. So I never really bothered. Now I’m convinced that I have been missing a good thing. So, enter the IP.

I started with the simplest version of mujadara that I could find. My perusal of recipes led me to the conclusion that rice and lentils were used in almost equal quantities. Since I’m a single-serving cook, I want smaller quantities than any recipe that I’ve seen.

For my first test, I didn’t do the crispy onions–I just put some chopped onions in with the rice and lentils. Since I’ve been reading The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook by Coco Morante, and everything I’ve followed her instructions for has worked so well, I decided to follow my “gut” about how much water to use to cook this in the IP, and knowing that onions would release a bunch of water, I used just slightly less than the volume of the rice and the lentils.

My Mujadara

For two servings:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup lentils de Puy
  • a good three-fingered pinch of kosher (Morten) salt.
  • black pepper
  • a dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • scant 1/2 cup water

Preparation

  • All ingredients into the Instant Pot
  • Add water
  • Multigrain setting

Yes, all of it all at once into the IP, without rinsing the rice, in a 7-cup Pyrex bowl for the pot-in-pot cooking method.

From what I learned from the cookbook, I used the “multigrain” setting–for the programmed time–40 minutes. I should have reduced the time just a bit to leave

 Ò¿Ó

I should have reduced the time just a bit to leave a bit more “tooth” to the rice and to the lentils–I suspect 30 minutes will work fine. Even though all the recipes I’ve found say NOT to use the French lentils, I like them–and they were what I have in the house for general use. So, that’s my version.

For a first run, I’m was a happy camper. The second time around,  the multigrain time set for  30 minutes.   I added the seasonings in from the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, except that I was out of coriander. To try to pick up something of the same flavor, I added sumac. However, without any extra seasonings, it was a good side to go with my rotisserie chicken (brought home from the grocery store because I’m eyeball-deep in indexing) and not spending a lot of time cooking.

The second batch, with shorter cook time and more seasonings, was better consistency, but I really like the very plain dish for flavor although I’m sure it will depend on what’s being served with it.

A son gôut!

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