Bean mujaddara (Mujaddara Hammaniya)


A mujaddara is primarily made with lentils and a starch (usually rice) and flavored with caramelized onions. It is a dish that is very ancient (mentioned in the Old Testament). In any case, it is healthy, rustic,  easy to make and easy on the wallet. 

  In the beautiful village  of Hammana (Mount Lebanon range), residents  are rightfully proud of their cherries (huge, extra-sweet); they also make mujaddara with local beans instead of lentils and it is just as good and good-for-you as the classic one with lentils. The recipe was published yesterday  in the French-language daily L’Orient-le-Jour and I decided to make it right away (slightly adapted). Mrs Marie Choueiri who gave the recipe said that it was taught to her by her mother-in-law when she got married as an entrance visa into the community.

INGREDIENTS: 8 servings

  • 1 pound of beans (Pinto or Northern White beans)
  • 3 tbsp of rice (medium-grain is best or any starchy rice like arborio or sushi)
  • 4 large onions
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • spices: salt, 1 tbsp;  1 tsp of black pepper;1 tsp of cinnamon; 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of hot tomato sauce (recipe calls for only 1 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp of grape molasses or dark honey (my add)
NOTE: Rice can be doubled without altering the dish.
Views of Hammana
  1. Soak the beans in a pot filled with lukewarm water the night before. The next day, empty the water, place the pot over the stove and add fresh tap water to fill the pot and cover the beans. Cook the beans, simmering gently, for about one hour, until they “open up” and are tender. Towards the end of cooking time, add 1/4 cup of rice to the pot. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin and the spiced tomato sauce.
  2. Simmer, stirring from time to time to make  sure the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot; meanwhile, chop the onions; heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the onions in the oil. When the onions are nicely browned, add them to the pot of beans and stir the pot for 15 minutes or so until the moujaddara thickens. 
  3. Transfer to a platter, let it cool and serve at room temperature with a salad of fresh veggies.
Hammana cherries
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  1. Posted August 17, 2012 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    The bean stew looks very flavourful!

  2. Posted August 17, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    That looks really good! I cannot resist beans.



  3. Posted August 17, 2012 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful dish Joumana, I had no idea it was that old.
    Those cherries at the last photo are huge!

  4. Posted August 17, 2012 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Tasty easy and economical? Sounds like a perfect dish! I can see why.

  5. Posted August 17, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Lentils are finding their way onto our table more and more these days. Especially, now that I have found where I can get French lentils locally. I love that chewy, nutty taste. I would love the version with lentils!

    Oh my goodness, those are big cherries!

  6. Posted August 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    This looks like a perfect recipe. As it should be, having survived for so long! I think I need to add lentils to next week’s grocery list.

  7. Posted August 19, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I love beans!! Should be trying your recipe soon!

  8. Posted August 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I have often made a lentil and rice dish (from the Frugal Gourmet?) that had caramelized onions, and it was delicious. I love the combination of honey and spices you have here.

  9. Posted August 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    This looks very interesting with the different spices and the tomato sauce. I’ve pinned it and I’m looking forward to trying it

  10. Christy
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Can you please explain when to add the honey? And can Tabasco be used instead of spicy tomato sauce? I looked everywhere and couldn’t find a tomato based hot sauce. Thanks!

  11. Joumana
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    @Christy: I added it the last 20 minutes of cooking; as a matter of fact, I also used tabasco as well as tomato paste and it worked out fine.

  12. Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Healthy indeed, and just loaded with great flavors. I can see making this when tyhe weather turns a touch cooler. The cherries are HUGE!

  13. Nilla
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    This looks great!

    I was thinking of doing it with red lentils and white beans, but ahve a question. If i make it using ready made beans, should I skip the simmer-part and go straight to adding rice, the onion and then let it simmer for 15 minutes?

  14. Joumana
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    @Nilla: This is a recipe that gets better with slow cooking; yes you can skip the initial simmer part, but i would definitely add the rice and onions and simmer very slowly for the rice to cook and the caramelized onions to infuse the beans or lentils. When the consistency is creamy and thick and it taste is to your liking, turn off the heat transfer to a platter and eat at room temp with a salad. Enjoy!

  15. Nilla
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Joumana: Ah, I understand. Then I’ll definitely get the uncooked beans and lentils and just make some more to stow away in the freezer. Thank you!

  16. Posted September 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Ça a l’air drôlement bon….

  17. Ana
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I’m so happy to find your beatiful site!
    I’m from Romania and when I saw your photo with Hammana cheries I remembered our cheries from my grandma yard! They look just the same.. We called it “may cheries” because we could eat them in may. They were very dark on colour and so sweet!
    You have great recipes! I love Lebanon and its culture.


  18. Joumana
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    @Ana`; `i am happy to meet you as well Ana, thanks for the praise! :)

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