Mujadara (bulgur wheat with brown lentils)

This is a deeply savoury dish of cumin-infused caramelised onions, bulgur wheat and brown lentils cooked with spices. Imad recommends serving it with other recipes from his cookbook: crispy onions (page 54), green plate (page 45), pickled cucumbers (page 56), taban bikhiar (page 97) or Turkish pickled peppers.

This recipe is taken from Imad’s Syrian Kitchen by Imad Alarnab (HarperCollins Publishers, £26).

First published in 2023

This is nice either hot or cold, so it’s great to make extra and eat the next day as a salad. Use the best extra virgin olive oil you have, as your whole dish will taste of it.






Wash the lentils in a sieve until the water runs clear


Add 75ml of the olive oil to a medium saucepan with the cumin seeds over a medium-high heat and toast for a minute, then turn down the heat a little, add the onion and cook for 8–10 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised


Tip in the lentils with 1 teaspoon of salt, then add the spices and stir to toast and coat the lentils with the oil. Add water to come about 3cm above the lentils, then cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Lower to a bubbling simmer for 20 minutes until almost cooked; you want the lentils to still be a little firm

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp baharat powder, see page 32 of Imad's book for a recipe
  • 1 tsp mild madras curry powder

Now stir in the bulgur wheat plus the remaining olive oil. Top up the water if necessary so it is still 3cm above the lentils and bulgur, using boiling water. Cover and turn up the heat to a boil for 3–5 minutes, then take off the heat. Cover the whole pot with a clean tea towel and set aside for 30–45 minutes

  • 200g of bulgur wheat, coarse

Remove the tea towel and lid then break up the grains with a fork and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with crispy onions and your favourite sides

First published in 2023

Imad Alarnab was forced to flee Damascus during the Syrian war, leaving behind his restaurants and cafes. He worked his way back up, at first cooking in refugee camps, then starting pop-ups in London, and finally opening his first restaurant in the UK, Imad's Syrian Kitchen. His debut cookbook, Imad's Syrian Kitchen, was released in 2023.

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