Recipe: how to make authentic home-style Palestinian mujadara

Chef Fadi Kattan of Fawda Cafe in Bethlehem shares his mother's recipe

Kattan's mujadara recipe was handed down from his mother. Courtesy Fadi Kattan.
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Chef Fadi Kattan owns and operates the boutique Hosh Al Syrian  Guesthouse and its celebrated Fawda Cafe in Bethlehem.

His new podcast, Sabah Al Yasmine, celebrates Palestinian food. A key part of the show is sharing recipes that are easily made at home.

Below is Kattan's mother's recipe for mujadara, which he has modified slightly. The Palestinian dish, the Arabic name for which roughly translates to "pockmarked", consists mainly of lentils, rice (or bulgur) and onions.

How to make mujadara

Kattan's mujadara recipe was handed down from his mother. Courtesy Fadi Kattan.

For four people


1 ½ cups green dried lentils


4 red onions

½ cup olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups medium grain rice

2 green spring onions

2 lemons

1 tsp sumac


1. Cook the lentils in salted water over a medium heat until they are al dente.

2. In a colander, wash the lentils with cold water to stop them cooking further and leave to drain.

3. Chop the onions into thin half-circles.

4. Put ¼ cup of olive oil into a skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cover and leave to cook on low heat for five minutes.

5. Sprinkle the sugar on the onions and cook until caramelised.

6. Reserve half of the onions on a kitchen paper and leave the other half in the oil.

7. In a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil, stir in the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well until the spices release their fragrances.

8. Add the rice, stir well to coat with the spices, then cover with 2 ½ cups of hot water.

9. Bring to a boil and reduce to a medium heat.

10. Cook for four to five minutes. Add the lentils and stir well.

11. Cook until practically done.

12. Pour the reserved onions and oil into the pot, stir well to mix with the rice and lentils, leave on a medium heat until the water reduces.

13. Turn off the heat and keep the pot covered for 10 minutes.

14. When serving the mujadara in a bowl, fluff the rice and lentils with a fork.

15. Chop the spring onions, mix with the lemon juice, sumac and a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle this dressing over the served mujadara.

16. Decorate with the crispy onions and enjoy.

Fadi Kattan owns and operates the Hosh Al Syrian Guesthouse in Bethlehem. Courtesy Fadi Kattan.