You’re about to experience one of the hardest-core of recipes in the traditional Lebanese Cuisine: Mujaddara bi Fasoulia, as graciously prepared and photographed by my sister Cynthia. Also pronounced as “Mjaddara” and also called “Mjaddaret Loubieh”, this is a dish with the simplest of ingredients yet the boldest of flavors. Pinto beans and Burghul (cracked wheat) are stewed in a caramelized onions sauce and you’re left with nothing but the deepest of earthy aromas. The charm in Mjaddara just like in many traditional Lebanese recipes come from the complex flavors of caramelized onions.
There are many varieties of Pinto beans in supermarkets today, so try to get the red or tan beans if possible. And as you’ll notice in the recipe method, we soak the beans overnight then boil and discard their water the first time around. This is done traditionally with the thought that the beans will be easier on the tummy that way. As for Burghul, it is now easily found in mainstream grocery stores as well, under the name of “Bulgur.” If available, try to get the coarse Bulgur (#2).
We’ve recently featured another variation of the “Mujaddara” family, the Mjaddara with Lentils which is also known as lentils with rice.
PS: in the photos above, it is apparent that the Burghul is overtaking the dish. This is how Cynthia likes to make it. Mom on the other hand, enjoys having more pinto beans in the Mjaddara. Hence the recipe ingredients below reflect the traditional way mom used to make it.
Summary: A Traditional Lebanese Stew Made With Pinto Beans, Cracked Wheat (Bulgur), and Caramelized Onions.
Mujaddara Ingredients (4 servings)
- 2.5 cups Pinto beans
- 2 medium onions, finely minced
- 1 cup Burghul (cracked wheat)
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup of frying oil (coconut oil, canola…)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Soak the pinto beans in water overnight.
- On the day of, boil the beans in a deep cooking pot for 5-10 minutes, discard their water, replenish with 4 cups of fresh warm water (water has to be warm so beans don’t shrink) and bring to a boil again on a gentle heat.
- Meanwhile, in a deep fryin pan, fry the minced onions in 1/3 cup of frying oil for about 15-20 minutes or until they are caramelized and crunchy. Once they reach that stage, discard the cooking oil and carefully pour 2 cups of water from the boiling pinto beans into the frying pan and let the onions boil in water for about 10-15 minutes until the water turns deeply caramelized in color.
- Pour the onions and their boiling water in the pot where the beans are boiling, and let them all boil for 15-20 more minutes on medium heat.
- Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- Add the burghul (without washing it, but be careful for any debris) to the cooking pot, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and let it all boil for another 10-15 more minutes. The end result should be a stew with little water.
- Serve hot or cold, with a side of plain Greek yogurt and veggies (green/raw onions, red radish…etc) and pita bread (optional).
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
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