Saffron rice with chickpeas, lentils & baharat

Saffron rice with chickpeas, lentils & baharat

Lauren Bamford

This is a version of my mum’s recipe for mjadra. It’s a dish that Dolores and I used to cook all the time and was one of the first Lebanese recipes that she mastered. You can eat it warm, you can eat it cold, you can eat it the next day and it’s just as good every time.


Quantity Ingredient
50g butter
1 pinch saffron
200g basmati rice
500ml chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves
150g brown lentils
200ml vegetable oil
6 shallots, thinly sliced
200g cooked or drained tinned chickpeas, (see note)
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
1 bunch mint, leaves torn

Baharat dressing

Quantity Ingredient
150ml lemon juice
1 tablespoon see method for ingredients
100ml olive oil


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan with a well-fitting lid over low heat. Add the saffron and the rice and stir to coat well. Add the chicken stock and bay leaves, bring to the boil then turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cover and cook for 12–15 minutes until the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork. Spread onto a tray to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the lentils then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan over high heat, then add the shallots and fry until crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside to drain on paper towel.
  4. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice and baharat in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil and season to taste.
  5. To serve, combine all of the ingredients except the shallots in a large salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Top with the fried shallots.


  • To cook chickpeas, start the night before by soaking 125 g dried chickpeas in cold water. The next day, drain then rinse the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan. Cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 1½ hours or until tender. Drain into a colander and toss in a splash of good olive oil.
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