i was going to title this "imjadara, the cheaters version" but as it turns out "imjadara, the wrong version" may be more on the money. while my friend nej was visiting, she brought me a bowl of this lebanese dish, unground, and it was absolutely delicious. not to mention, very nutritious and good for me too!! i immediately wanted in. the recipe was passed down from her mother's dad's mom, who was "straight off the lebanese boat" in nej's own words. it's a very simple lentil dish that is pureed to make a paste, which can be served with salad. yes, salad!!
i made a batch straight away, without checking in with mrs. liias (nej's mom) directly. here's what i did based on nej's description (as i said, she eats hers without pureeing). i used 1 cup of lentils and a 1/2 cup of brown rice::
i first chopped up and sauteed 2 onions in a little bit of olive oil and butter. i couldn't decide which to use, and since nej hadn't specified, i figured, why leave anyone out? i then added the lentils and the rice and 4 cups of water. i brought this up to a boil and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes (until the rice was cooked). i did have to add a little more water as it was cooking::
then i ran the cooked mixture through my food processor and let the resulting paste cool::
owen was not pleased at the sight of this. he was a bit horrified really. i won't quote him. it hardened up a little just as nej had said it would, and was really quite nice with a fresh salad on top::
i sent some of these images in an email to mrs liias. as it turns out, the traditional way to do it is to cook the lentils first, reserve the water, then grind the lentils using a foley food mill. this will separate the lentil paste from the skins. you then return the paste to the pot, and add the reserved water they were cooked in (plus more if needed), the sauteed onions, and the rice, and simmer until the rice is cooked. this mixture is then cooled and served with salad on top.
so, yeah, a bit different. mrs. liias has promised to send me pictures of her next batch. until then, i will continue to eat this without pureeing (which is extraordinary). i've been making batch after batch, a little wetter than the one documented here. i store it in the fridge and spoon some out with my salad lunch, sometimes cold and sometimes warmed up. either way its delicious.
meanwhile, how do i not have a food mill? i've got to set that straight.