Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah

A favorite Chef Chaza meal from her childhood, her mother’s special Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah

How to make Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah by Chef Chaza Smith

Usually reserved for special occasions, Mjedrah has been a favorite across the Middle East for generations, and Chef shares the traditional family recipe she remembers for favorite Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah.


Time to prepare:  90 Minutes

Click HERE to see the video on YouTube


Ingredients for Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah:

1 lb x Lentils (rinsed and cleaned)

2 Cups x Coarse Burgle Wheat * (to make Gluten Free, use a natural form of Rice instead of Burgle)

2 x Large Onions

1/2 to 1 Cup – Olive Oil

1/2 Tsp – Cumin

1 Tbsp – Cornstarch

Salt (approx. 1-2 tablespoons)

Water (8 cups H2O for Lentils + ~1 Cup H2O for Burgle)


Chop the Onions julienne (half-moons).  Add the Cornstarch to the Onions, making a coating of the powder over the Onions.  Put that aside as is while the Lentils are prepared.

Put the Lentils into a pan with eight cups of water.  Heat on Medium.

In another pot, pour about a half-cup of Olive Oil, turn heat on Medium-High to High, and add the Onions coated with Cornstarch.  Separate the Onions with your fingers to help prevent them from sticking together.  Stir the Onions to make sure the cook evenly, add a tablespoon of Salt to extract extra liquid and to help cook faster.  Stir about every five minutes, and and Cook until golden-brown.

Check on the Lentils to make sure water is boiling.  Do NOT add salt to beans that are cooking, but add the Cumin after 10 minutes.  The Lentils should take about 15-20 minutes to cook to where the Lentils still have a little crunch, not too soft or mushy.  Drain Lentil cooking water into a bowl when done cooking… save that water for later use, and put cooked Lentils aside for now.  Remember to keep stirring the Onions.

Skim the Lentils cooking water and discard the darker water at the bottom.  This is the secret to great Mjedrah!  Put the less-dark Lentil cooking water aside for later use.  Do NOT USE the dark water!

Scoop a 1/2 Cup of the Oil that is cooking the Onions into a new pan to cook the Burgle.  Pour in the Burgle, and stir to toast.  When you can smell the nutty smell of toasted wheat, and they look white, the grains are toasted.  You may need more oil, and a few onions are okay too.  Season with 2 teaspoons of Salt.

Check on the Onions (they should be done by the time the Burgle is cooked).  When the Burgle is mostly toasted, pour-in 3 cups of liquid, starting with the leftover Lentil cooking water.  Supplement with regular water if there isn’t enough leftover Lentil cooking water.  Heat Burgle on high and simmer uncovered (just like cooking rice).  When the water has been absorbed and you can see little bubbles on-top, lower the heat, add the Lentils and cover (less than 5 minutes).  Check to see if it needs Salt too, and add if needed (remember, the Lentils were cooked unsalted).  Set timer for six minutes to check back.

When the Onions are cooked (Golden-Brown), drain the oil to be saved and used later.  Put Onions aside to add to the top later.

When ‘Burgle timer’ alarms, add the Onion Oil that was saved, and mix into the Burgle, and spread evenly throughout.

Dish the Mjedrah into a serving pan, and garnish with the cooked Onions.  Enjoy!







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