Mejadra with Black Eyed Peas

Another dish with multiple origins and multiple spellings, Mujadara and its crowd-pleasing status has kept it popular for centuries. It’s mouth-watering and savoury — and that’s even before we add caramelized onions. In honour of Rosh Hashana we have swapped the lentils for black eyed peas, a traditional Rosh Hashana food.

We’re inspired by Michael Solomonov’s take on the dish in his cookbook ‘Zahav,’ not to mention where in the Bible he thinks it derives, and we hope you’ll be just as inspired to make this at home. Recipe is below, enjoy!

For the onions:

  • 4 brown onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For Black eyed peas:

  • 200 g (1 cup) dried black eyed peas
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 centimetres sized piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled
  • ½ onion, unpeeled
  • 1 head garlic cut in half, through the horizon
  • 4 cups water

For Rice:

  •  2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  ½ onion, chopped very finely
  • 200 g (2 cups) white long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon baharat spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper 4 cups water

For caramelised onions: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and add the onions, stirring occasionally, fry the onions until very dark mahogany coloured, but not burnt. This may take up to 45 minutes – but is totally worth the effort. For the black eyed peas: Place the black eyed peas in a bowl and cover with 4 cups of cold water, allow to soak for at least 6 hours and up to 24. Once rehydrated, rinse with cold water. Combine the black eyed peas, cinnamon, ginger, onion, and garlic in a medium sauce pan set over a medium flame, add the water. Bring the contents of the pot to the boil, lower the heat so that the water stays at a rolling boil and cook until the black eyed peas are soft, drain. When cool enough to handle, pick out the cinnamon, onion, garlic and ginger and discard. Set aside the black eyed peas for later. For the rice: In a large sauté pan with high sides and a cover, add the oil and heat. Add the chopped onion and fry until the onion looks translucent and soft. Add the rice to the onion and stir

so that the grains are covered in oil and just start to turn translucent, add the Baharat spice and salt and pepper and stir until well mixed. Add the water, bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat to a slow simmer. At this point LEAVE IT ALONE! Cover the pan and let it cook until the rice is cooked through and the water has been absorbed. Once cooked, turn off the heat and let the rice sit for about 10 minutes (I feel like the rice needs a bit of time to contemplate its existence). To Assemble; after the rice has rested, mix in the black eyed peas, I use a rice paddle to do this, but a wooden spatula would work as well. Just before serving, top with fried onions