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Lebanese Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara) with Cabbage Tomato Salad

Lebanese Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara) with Cabbage Tomato Salad

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 5 (2 cups pilaf per serving)
  • Cuisine: Lebanese


Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara):

  • Large Brown Lentils – 1 cup.
  • Basmati (White) Rice – 1.5 cups, rinsed.
  • Onion – 1 medium, finely diced.
  • Onion – 3 large, cut into wedges.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1-2 tbsp.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Vegetable oil – 1/4 cup.
  • Cumin – 2-3 tsp.
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp.
  • All Spice – 1 tsp.
  • Salt – 2 tsp.
  • Water – 2 cups for par-boiling the lentils.
  • Water – 4 cups.

Cabbage Tomato Salad:

  • White Cabbage – 1/2 small, shredded to desired size.
  • Tomatoes – 4, chopped.
  • Garlic Clove – 1, minced.
  • Lemon – 1/2, juiced.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle to taste.
  • Dried Mint – 1.5 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp.


Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara):

  1. In a medium pot, add the lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a large sauce pan, add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, diced onion, cumin, cinnamon, all spice, salt and caramelize until golden brown. Should be ready when the lentils are done.
  3. Drain the lentils and add along with rinsed rice to rice cooker.
  4. Add one cup of water to the caramelized diced onion to scrape all the bits and spices then pour into the rice cooker.
  5. Add the remaining 3 cups of water to the rice cooker and mix all the contents well. Turn on rice cooker with the white rice setting. Should take around 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the 1/4 cup of oil in your saucepan and caramelize the onion wedges until golden brown. Drain on paper towels until ready to serve.
  7. Top your Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara) with the caramelized onion wedges and serve with the Cabbage Tomato Salad. The pilaf can be served warm or cold.

Cabbage Tomato Salad:

  1. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Tastes best when served immediately.


– If you prefer more lentils in your pilaf, you can use equal amounts of rice/lentils.
– If you’re not using a rice cooker, from steps 3-5, add all the ingredients to a large pot instead, bring to a boil, then simmer covered until the water is absorbed. You might need to play around with the measurements of water.


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