I cooked this particular dish (recipe downloaded from the Ottolenghi website) as it reminded me of a meal Mr D and I ate in Egypt a few years ago. Well, Mr Cast Iron Stomach and the rest of our group ate a plateful, I only ate about two mouthfuls, then ran off to be sick, which isn’t normally a good omen for a dish. This episode had been repeated in reverse a few nights prior except we were on our own. We ordered dinner in a quiet neighbourhood restaurant, then about five minutes later Mr CIS turned an unusual colour (Resene Beryl Green I think it was....) stated he could not possibly stay, and left me sitting on my tod in a Cairo restaurant, where I was literally the only chick in the house. The lovely proprietor saw what had happened and dragged the TV in the corner over to my table, this made me feel worse as I was depriving everyone else of Knight Rider, but he insisted. I ate dinner and tried to concentrate on the Hoff as best I could with an entire room staring at me, and thanked him profusely when he carefully packaged up the rest of dinner so I could take it back for my missing companion. He insisted his son walk me the five minutes back to the hotel, so I was obliged to take the remains of my fragrant dinner right back to our room, where the patient strangely enough did not thank me.
Lucky me there was enough left over for lunch, a crumble of feta would have been perfect but I didn't have any so I supplied my protein with a boiled egg, it worked surprisingly well....
Mejadarah-from the Ottolenghi website
120g basmati rice
120g lentils- I used Puy lentils
½ Tbsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large onion
Vegetable oil for frying
Slice the onion, lightly salt and place in a colander to get rid of some of the liquids.
In a saucepan, place the lentils and 750ml of cold water. Cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils have softened but still have a bite.
In a separate large saucepan, toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant. Add the rice, olive oil, cinnamon and turmeric. Make sure the rice is coated evenly with the oil. Add the cooked lentils with their liquid and the remaining water. Add salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a very low heat for 20mins. Leave covered for another 10 minutes.
While the rice in simmering fry the onion till golden brown. Place on kitchen paper. Mix half the onion through and taste for seasoning. Plate the rice and garnish with the rest of the onion.