Mejaderah is a classic Middle-Eastern side dish usually made with basmati rice but I’ve adapted it to be made with cauliflower to suit my low-carb eating regime. Make it with either and you’ll find it totally delicious either on its own or served with roast lamb or chops.
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 200g onions, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 200ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 small or 1/2 a large cauliflower – coarsely grated
- 50g brown lentils
- Salt and black pepper
- To garnish: 2 shallots, 2 tbsps fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Most of the steps run in parallel so you can have this ready in about 30 minutes provided you get all your ingredients together before you start.
- Lightly dry toast the cinnamon stick, cumin and coriander seeds for a few minutes in a heavy-based pan.
- Add the olive oil and butter to the pan over a medium heat, turn it down and then cook the sliced onions slowly for about 20 minutes until they are deep golden brown – this is where the deep savoury flavour will come from.
- Meanwhile, cook the brown lentils in a saucepan with the stock for 10 minutes and then drain them but keep the stock to one side.
- Make the crispy shallots for the garnish by frying the onions in a little oil – they will take about 15 minutes. Set them to one side.
- Coarsely grate the cauliflower using a box grater or the coarsest blade of a food processor.
- Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the onion mix and stir in the bay leaf, garlic, allspice, cumin, chilli and turmeric and then stir in the grated cauliflower.
- Keep stirring for a few minutes so that the cauliflower is coated in the buttery onion and spice mix, add the lentils and then the cooking stock a little at a time and cook for just a few minutes until it softens but still has a little bite. It should have a dry, not a watery finish. Adjust the seasoning to your tastes – more salt, cumin etc.
- Take the pan off the heat, transfer it to a warm serving dish and garnish with the crispy shallots and chopped coriander.
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