stuck-pot-rice-with-lentils-and-yogurt Recipes

stuck-pot rice with lentils and yogurt

I once read that if you ask a guy what his favorite item of clothing is, he would pick the oldest thing he owns — some t-shirt he’s had since high school or nearly threadbare sweats. And if you ask a woman, she usually picks the last thing she bought. [Nobody mentioned four year-olds but obviously: fireman hat.] Gender stereotyping copy aside,* when it comes to recipes, this has me down to a T: my favorite thing to cook is usually the last thing I made. Because of this, I fail 100% of the time at “content-planning strategies” [or as it sounds in my head when I read phrases like this: blargle-blargle blargle] because while I’m supposed to be telling you about this great dish I made last week for Valentine’s, I only want to talk about what I made for dinner on Tuesday night. Because it’s my new favorite everything.

what you'll need, plus a fork
i rinsed my rice. for once.

When I first read about stuck-pot rice many years ago, I guffawed a bit, because who needs a recipe for that? I come from a long line of cooks that cannot make rice without burning it; any night where rice is on the stove ends with a gunked-up pot soaking overnight in the sink. It’s tradition; one day I will teach this guy too!

deb, your pot is too small!

sliced onions to cook
lightly caramelized onions

But here, rice that sticks to a pot is an art form. The basic formula has you parboil rice for 5 minutes, drain it, mix it with some ingredients, flavor and splash of water. The rice is returned to a heated, oiled pot and pressed in tight (it sizzles!), lidded tightly enough that no steam will escape, and cooked at a very low heat for about 30 minutes, and then scraped (theoretically, it comes out in one piece; mine never has) out onto a plate and brought to the table where everyone can have a butter knife fight (kidding!) over the crunchy bits.

mixed with yogurt, lemon juice and spice
press in the mixture
a wrapped lid for extra sealing

While the flavors are up to you, when they were up to me, I took it on an Arabic tour, giving it a mujadarra-ish vibe, and think you should too. If you’re unfamiliar with mujadarra, imagine rice and lentils that are cooked together with spices and then heaped with caramelized onions for the unquestionably most rib-sticking, soul-pleasing vegetarian meal on this earth.** Here, it’s I use a higher proportion of rice to lentils and stir in some yogurt. Finished with extra yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice, it is perfect. It coordinates with everything. And you could make it for dinner tonight.

stuck-pot rice with lentils and yogurt

* I mean, although this is embarrassingly true for me. Hello, I love you.
** I used to pick it up for lunch, along with their excellent vegetable soup, from the upstairs cafe at Kalustyan’s when I worked nearby. If they’re still doing this, don’t miss it.

One year ago: French Onion Tart
Two years ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways
Three years ago: Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
Four years ago: Walnut Jam Cake
Five years ago: Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
Six years ago: Best Chocolate Pudding
Seven years ago: Mom’s Chocolate Chip Meringues

Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils and Yogurt
Adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

[Notes at the bottom of the recipe.]

Serves 4 generously (a main dish) and 6 as a side

1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed well
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk though low-fat will work, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges for serving
1/3 cup water [edited]
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, cilantro or mint for garnish (optional)

Bring a medium-sized heavy pot with a tight fitting lid (so you can use one pot for all the steps) of salted water to a boil. [Updated direction.] Add lentils and boil for 5 minutes, then add rice boil for 5 minutes more, without stirring. Drain mixture and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the same pot over medium-high heat. Once heated, add 2 tablespoons oil; once oil is warm, add onions and a couple pinches of salt and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized and brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add onions to bowl with rice and lentils. Stir in yogurt, lemon juice, water [edited], cumin and pepper, plus additional salt to taste.

Heat pot again over medium-high heat. Once fully hot, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Once that is hot, return rice mixture to pot, pressing it in. (It will sizzle.) Wrap clean kitchen towel around lid of pot so it completely covers inside of lid; gather corners on top so they do not fall anywhere near stove. Place lid on pot, sealing tightly. Reduce heat to very low. Cook undisturbed about 30 minutes; rice should smell toasty but not burned and you might need to check on it once or twice if you’re making it for the first time. Remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes more.

Carefully remove lid and cloth, and turn pot upside down over a platter. If rice comes out in a single crust, terrific. If not, use a spatula to scrape crisp pieces out of pan and onto remaining rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges and additional plain yogurt.
Dig in.


  • This is the fried rice of my dreams; the crunch I’m always hoping I’ll get but rarely do. The trickiest thing about this dish will be that the first time you make it, you’ll need to pay attention to your stove. While 30 minutes at very low heat usually does the trick, “low” means different things on different stoves and different pots will conduct differently. It should get toasty, but not burnt. A heavy pot is recommended. I found one I’d forgotten about in the closet (I love it, but can’t say I use it enough to recommend you get it too) which worked great, but I kinda secretly wonder if a non-stick pot could more easily provide a perfectly intact crust. I’m also curious about making this in a skillet, for maximum crust-to-center ratio. The next most important thing is a tight-fitting lid; you want to keep the steam in the pot to keep the rice from drying out and burning before it’s cooked. Wrapping the lid in a towel will help.
  • This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman. He was as taken with the preparation as I am, and created many different versions (all are listed in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian), with potato, pita and tortilla crusts, and flavors from dates and saffron and mango and ginger to chile powder and sour cream.
  • Lentils: Mujadarra is usually made with large green or brown lentils. I used small brown ones, and they worked well. The only type I would not recommend is the kind I recommended a few weeks ago (I’m such a pain, I know), those tiny green lentils de puy, whose intact, lightly crunchy beauty is just not needed here. Save them for salads. [Updated to note:] I used tiny lentils; they cooked quickly. I’m hearing in the comments that a lot of your lentils are not cooking with only 5 minutes of par-boiling and am adding a note suggesting 10 minutes for larger lentils.
  • Brown basmati rice can be used here, too, but you’ll want to boil it for 10 minutes in the water before adding the lentils for the last 5 minutes in the first step. Updated to note: Please proceed with caution if using brown rice. Early responses about the brown rice suggest that it needs more par-cooking time than Bittman suggested to work.

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260 comments on stuck-pot rice with lentils and yogurt

  1. Sarvi

    Just wanted to chime in along with what will probably be forty others to say that this is ‘tahdig’ (bottom of the pot) and all Iranians who grew up with a grandma making Persian rice in their homes will be very nostalgic about this. The crunchy part is the best bit!

  2. Parissa Behnia

    Hi! As a Persian, this feels like home to me so thanks for sharing this with others. There are a couple of things you can do to help with rice success:
    1) Use a good quality non stick pot (I like my Calphalon pot)
    2) before you return all of the rice to the pot, mix some of your parboiled rice with yogurt and saffron and put it as the bottom layer of your pot (after you heat some oil). you don’t want it too ricey or too yogurty. it’s an eyeball thing.
    3) your timing sounds about right. the “old school” way to check for doneness is to like your fingers and tap it against the side of the pot. if you hear a sizzle, you’re in good shape. repeat the lick and tap all over the pot to check for sizzles all over just to be sure.
    4) to increase crunch, keep the pot on a little longer after you hear the sizzles.

  3. SamanthaJess

    Persian rice is one of my absolute favorites! I noticed that you said that your rice rarely comes out in once piece and I want to help! I have found that if you add a little more oil during the steaming process (more like “enough to cover the bottom of the pan”), you are more likely to have the whole thing come out in once piece. The Kosher Persian Food blog has a great video tutorial on basic fancyPersian rice that changed my Persian-rice life! Her cook book is also amazing and full of yummy “stuck-pot” rice recipes! You will not regret it!

  4. Alison

    Growing up my Cuban Grandmother would always use a brown paper grocery bag between the pot and the lid when she made rice. I always thought it was for some voodoo reason, but i guess it was for keeping the steam in! I’ll probably still pass on that it was for voodoo…

    1. deb

      Tips — Thank you! As you can see, this was definitely a beginners effort. Keep them coming; I’ll try to crunch them together later and add suggestions at the end.

      Yael — I understand that there are many different variations and spellings, such as: mejadra, mjaddara, moujadara, mudardara, and megadarra… Any others that I’m missing? I really love to list them all because I love stuff like this.

  5. I love rice and lentils, this cooking technique of parboiling the rice, draining it, and then steaming it is actually the Iranian style of making rice. The rice grains are always separate and the crust is the most amazing part

  6. mini-cake

    I agree with SamanthaJess about adding more oil to the pot. I would also say that to get the perfect colour on your rice (that caramel/golden brown) and to get it out in one piece you should cook the rice, covered with the cloth like you did on med to med high heat for the first 10 minutes and then low the rest of the time. If you get a heat diffuser then you won’t have to worry about the rice burning. Mine turns out perfect every time.

    1. deb

      re, more oil: More than 2 tablespoons in the last step? It seemed to coat mine well/heavily. But my pot was old and not well-seasoned anymore. (I tried to do a quick reseason before using it, but probably insufficient.)

      1. M-C

        A stick of butter is what my Persian friend recommended :-). Ok, half a stick for American wimps and say 2 cups of rice quantities. Butter browns better than oil, and tastes much, much better.

  7. Delicious! And funny that just today I made rice & lentils, although with heaps of Harissa and Japanese pickled mushrooms (fridge-cleaning induced fusion cuisine) with a splash of coconut cream and nam pla. Definitely brother than your gorgeous looking plate, yet surprisingly yummy. Might try to repeat it. For tomorrow though, it’s you recipe – I am in a double-carb phase BIG TIME! Thanks, Deb!

  8. Caroline

    I think the favorite recipe of a blog reader is “the one just about to be published.” That’s why we have to check blogs ALL OF THE TIME.

    This looks yummy! Sadly, my boyfriend doesn’t eat rice, but I think I’ll be making this just as soon as he has a buddies-night-out.

  9. I love when I go out to a restaurant with someone to order this, and they leave behind the “burned parts” because they think it is inferior to the fluffy rice. I never correct them because I’m greedy and semi-evil. :) Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Faye

    I was shown how to make rice this way by a Persian friend about 20 years ago. My favorite dish to make this way is rice with fava beans and dill,fantastically wonderful!! I’m going try your recipe tonight, because it just sounds yummy!

  11. Lauren

    Kalustyan’s still does the world’s most fantastic mujadarra! I used to go there years ago when it only had takeout. I no longer work in the neighborhood, but when I’m on the East Side, I run over to Kalustyan’s for mujadarra. Now they have a tiny seating area upstairs. My favorite place to eat in all of New York!

  12. Tamara

    My mother is Dominican and when she makes rice this way, the crunchy part is called concon (not sure how to get the pronunciation across-hmm) and its considered sort of a delicacy. I’ve never been able to get mine right so thanks for the recipe!

  13. Molly

    Love the “pot is too small” caption – – along with not being able to cook a decent pot of rice if our lives depended on it, in my family it is also tradition to try to fit “2 tons of fertilizer in a 1 ton truck”, metaphorically speaking, when it comes to all kitchen vessels. Typo alert: “made/took it on an Arabic tour”. Wish I was home right now to make and then eat the entire pot of this!

  14. Jim

    the only time I boil rice is when it’s added to soup. a friend gave me an electric rice cooker that after a year of trying I gave up on it. I steam all my rice including rice with other ingredients. steamed rice is the only way to make rice as far as I’m concerned.

  15. Peggy

    so glad to hear that the crusty rice on the bottom is loved by others too. In Korean it’s called nurrumbap and is considered the best part! Definitely something to fight over.

  16. Johanna

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, it makes me feel nostalgic.

    My mother and her first husband moved to Iran in the late 70’s, and her Iranian in-laws were the ones who taught her to cook and keep house. Sadly the circumstances of the cultural revolution (she had two young sons by then) forced her to leave the country and her marriage didn’t last. She continued to cook and keep house with an Iranian sensibility though.

    I was the product of her second marriage, and I can remember her preparing lots of Persian food (baghali polo and chelow kabab were family favorites) in the half-remodeled kitchen of our house in Iowa. She made stuck pot rice, sometimes using potatoes to form the golden crust (we called it tahdig, which she said meant “bottom of the pot”).

    I’ve never managed to make tahdig as good as hers, but after seeing this I think I might try again. “Stuck pot rice” smells and tastes like home.

  17. Rice is one food that I rarely can get to come out right, but sadly instead of getting overcooked, crispy rice, I usually end up with a big pile of mushy rice. I love crispy rice, so maybe this Stuck-Pot Rice recipe will be my new best friend!

  18. K.

    Such a beautiful food! My Persian friend introduced me to stuck rice in the form of tahdig (which we always called tah-deek) when I was just 20. And that’s what made me a foodie. Just kidding, although I do think it pushed me a good couple of steps forward onto that path. Can you imagine going from bland white rice to crusty, crunchy-bottom basmati fragrant with dill and butter and set off with a spoonful of tangy yogurt? It was astonishing. She always combined a little yogurt with her butter too to make the bottom crust even more crunchy.

    I can’t wait to try your variation, Deb. It looks fantastic and your recipes are always incredibly well thought out. Never a dud. Blessings on you for that. You have inspired many, many wonderful meals at my house.

  19. Mahtab

    Another persian vouching for “stuck pot rice” aka tahdig, which is often served as a “rice cake” with the bottom of the pan with crispy rice as the top of the cake. Our family still fights over the last piece!

  20. nzle

    Oh Deb, you’d really love Iranian food — vegetable-forward rice dishes and stews, torshi (pickles/relishes), and (as every other blessed Iranian on this thread has pointed out) tahdig at every meal. Fava bean and dill rice, green bean and tomato rice, barberry, saffron, and caramelized orange peel rice, and SO MUCH MORE.

    I highly recommend Najmieh Batmanglij’s Food of Life if you want to learn more!! (I, um, kind of don’t recommend The New Persian Kitchen, which I think makes too many compromises with Iranian cuisine.)

  21. Kalie

    Sounds delicious! Would brown rice work in this recipe, and would the cooking time/technique change at all? I think the nutty flavor would work really well with the lentils.

  22. This looks so good! I was just telling le bf we should eat more beans and lentils for savings/health reasons, and this meal seems to fit the bill. Delicious and inexpensive, too. Beans and rice are comfort food for me anyway. Putting this on the menu!

  23. You know, if you cook rice in a non-stick skillet (flavoured with what you like of course), over medium high heat for 5 min until waters mostly absorbed, then cover the skillet, medium heat for another 10 min. Then turn off the heat completely and let it steam for 20/25 min. The rise will slide off the skillet like a pie! A rice pie with the most amazing crust. I think there’s a Persian dish like that and they serve it inverted on a plate so the crust can be admired :)

  24. Jane

    My college roommate and I used to make mujadara all the time because we could make a massive pot for next to nothing and reheat it all week. I’m very excited to revisit it the way you cook it!

  25. Michelle

    I love your blog and have been reading for years. I feel like we have a chat everytime I have a cooking question and I check your blog for the answer! I’m in a pickle right now….my son wants a trifle for his birthday cake (he is 7 and wishes he was from England…we dont know why). What cake do you suggest to make to go with it? Pound cake? Yellow? I’m making whip cream, vanilla pudding, and good strawberry jam. Thanks!

  26. Zora

    I have read that you can get the rice to unstick if you put the bottom of the pot in cold water for a while. I haven’t tried this.

    My Persian friend taught me how to make rice. She would slice a potato the long way, into thin oval sices, and arrange them as a rosette in the buttery bottom of the pot before adding the parboiled rice. The rice would come out of the pan with a decorative rosette on top.

  27. I’m so in love with crunchy rice that I always make a little extra white rice on the bottom of the pan when I prepare it for a side and let it keep cooking away. Thanks for giving me a recipe so I know how to actually prepare it.

  28. Monica

    Big fan here. Due to distraction mostly, I used to burn rice all the time. So now I cook it on a cast iron pan and, when the water level lowers a little, I turn off the stove and cover the pan. By the time the rest of the meal is ready, rice is perfectly cooked, hot, and not burned. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

  29. fh

    Oh man, I’m married to an Iranian (whose family owns restaurants), and I would be laughed out of the house if I served rice like that. I swear I was officially accepted into the family the first time I pulled off a beautiful “stuck pot” rice (tadig). I definitely second reading “Food of Life” and updating this recipe. It’s soo much better with big chunks of tadig, and beautiful. I adore you, but this recipe really under represents what this dish can be.

  30. TDP

    One helpful tip: instead of a towel, try 1 (large) thick paper towel over the pot and then cover with the lid. That way you can wet the ends and fold and press them to the top of the pot, unlike the towel where the ends may fall onto the stove. This is what my Persian bf uses when making this rice dish and it creates a strong enough seal to steam the rice. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Vickie

    Hands down the best dinner EVER!! Actually made this on Tuesday also. My kids devour it and have gotten all their friends to ask their moms to carmelize onions for their mejedrah!!!

  32. Emily

    Koreans also have a crunchy rice dish that I think you would love – it’s called bibimbap and it requires a special heated stone bowl. You add the rice to the bowl, along with toppings. As the rice sits in the hot bowl it becomes crunchy. I’d love for you to try making it and seeing on your website!

    PS – Just ordered your cookbook last week and it’s wonderful!

  33. I adore stuck-pot rice. I’ve never heard it called that. I had a Persian friend growing up who’s house I would always try to finagle a dinner invention to, because this mom would serve this rice. They called it ‘tadig.’ The ‘i’ sounds like two e’s. It’s lovely. And then you went and added lentils, my favorite food, well, heck, I love ya even more!

  34. Amy

    this sounds like a perfect lunch for me. something my family won’t eat, and something I’d be happy to eat for a few days in a row. I’m currently finishing a batch of your sweet potato/broccoli miso rice bowl. LOVING IT!

  35. Laura

    I came down to the comments to mention the Iranian dish tahdig, but I see that plenty of other commenters beat me to it! My grandmother taught me to make tahdig in a rice cooker, which truly could not be easier. Often I add saffron, and sometimes these little dried currants called zeresh. Part of my family is Ashkenazi Jewish, and we’ve found that tahdig goes brilliantly with brisket, ha.

  36. Laura

    By the way, we always use a Persian rice cooker (kind of like this – It might seem crazy to have a cooker just for tahdig, but it’s insanely easy to use. When I left home for college, my grandmother bought me one! Melt a little butter (2-3 tbsp) in the bottom of the no-stick pot, then add rice (we don’t parboil) and water. I smash up some saffron threads with a bit of water, then add that on top, along with several pats of butter. We use plenty of clean dishcloths over top, and set the timer on the cooker. And that’s it. Perfect golden tahdig every. single. time.

  37. Janae

    Another Persian here to say yuuuum! Love this dish; my family makes a very similar one with lentils occasionally. There are literally thousands of variations of Persian rice dishes, and all have the “stuck” part on the bottom (tahdig), which everyone always fights over! And someone mentioned the sliced potato on the bottom, that is a good addition, too!

  38. I remember when my mom used to make rice. She always unintentionally cooking it long after the water had evaporated and it become so crusty on the bottom. That was the only part I ate. It’s also delicious with some raisins inside.

  39. ciddyguy

    This looks tasty.

    Fortunately, I can cook rice with water the old fashioned way in a pot most of the time as every so often, it gets a bit overcooked and thus mushy.

    As to your cast iron Dutch oven. Strip it down, and reseason by slathering with Crisco, wiping out the excess and then bake in the oven at 300 or so degrees for 30 minutes, and do this at least 3 times to get a good start to the seasoning.

    Also, avoid scrubbing it, and soap as it’ll take off that seasoning you’ve worked so hard to develop, and NEVER use anything acidic in it either as it’ll also strip the seasoning off.

    Lodge pots should be preseasoned to begin with and just add to it when you cook with oil, rinsing in hot water, and using a brush to get teh crusties out. Put on a low burner/flame for a few minutes or until fully dry.

  40. Ruth

    Growing up in an Ecuadorian household, my mom made white rice everyday, always with the tiniest bit of oil. My dad treasured the crunchy rice from the bottom of the pot. We call it “cocolón”, and this recipe brought back memories!

  41. anne

    I have that pot and it is one of my prized possessions!!! Mine is a little deeper than yours, it’s quite old, but I make all kinds of everything in it and use it all.the.time! Maybe now that you have it out, you’ll refer to it more often. Other than tomato-ish acid-y dishes, it works great for everything.

  42. teri

    I’m Lebanese and was raised on Mjuddrah…(that’s how we spell it and it sounds like ummmmmjuderah) Just the perfect comfort food! I make it for my kids and all their friends, as many of them are vegetarians and it’s one of their faves too! So glad to see lentils finally getting some recognition…cheap, easy, quick, nutritious and totally delish!

  43. This is one of my favourite ways to cook rice and lentils! I make a similar version that is slightly more decadent with the inclusion of saffron, butter, and dates!

  44. G

    I might have to try this one soon… like tonight. To have better chances of having your rice come out at once, try, immersing the bottom of your pot in cold water before turning it upside down.

  45. Never heard of stuck-pot rice before but I can’t wait to give it a go! Not only it looks delicious but also burnt rice here is sort of an art! Could it get any better for someone, like me, who never manages to cook rice in the right way?!

    xo, Elisa

  46. Rebeca

    I’d never heard of this before, but I love arroz socarrat, so this must be delicious. You’re always a source of inspiration, Deb!

  47. One of my closest friends is Persian and when she makes rice she uses the same method as Parissa above for the crust: she mixes the first layer with yogurt and saffron. I am not an expert, but hers turns out fabulous every time!

  48. Eleanor

    Another lentil question: is there an expiation date on them? Following the directions carefully, I expected to love this recipe, but some of the crunchy bits were shockingly rock-hard. Tasty flavour combination, though. I will retry with a different
    Kind of lentil.
    Thank you for all the culinary adventures you bring,

  49. Dave

    I’m scared, but I’ll try it. I’m afraid there will not be enough moisture to cook the rice/lentils. Plus I’m always terrified of inverting a pot on top of a platter. Past disasters do not easily fade from memory. None the less I’m intrigued and we have a date for tomorrow night.

  50. Joan B

    My Iranian friend puts a couple of tablespoons of oil and water into the bottom of the pan, then lines the bottom with small pieces of thin pita bread or thinnly sliced potatoes. Leave spaces in between for the rice to fill in. They lightly pours the boiled rice over the top. After it cooks he flips the entire pot and the design is on the top. Beautiful and delicious! Thanks Kaz!

  51. Andrea

    My spouse has told me that the word for RICE in China means food, and that “stuck” rice is the best food. Love your blog and thanx for the recipe(s)!

  52. Camille

    In the first sentence of paragraph 4, the word “made” is out of place (sorry to nitpick).

    This looks wonderful, and like a good way to use up some of the lentils in my pantry. We’re getting ready to move (cringe) and we are going to be living out of a hotel for a few weeks waiting to close on our house so I’m trying not to box up food what will have to go in storage. This will use up some of those pesky things that I somehow always have on hand but never use. Thank you!

  53. Amanda B.

    This recipe intrigued me, and a quick glance at the first few comments sent me on a very educational journey across the interwebs about tadig and other Persian cooking! I was craving a cinnamon flavor so I subbed the 2t cumin with 1t cinnamon, 1/2 t cumin, and 1/2 t coriander and left out the lemon juice. I second-guessed myself on adding some raisins, but later decided I should have put them in. Thanks for broadening my horizons!

  54. Rachel

    Do you think an enameled cast iron pot of the Le Creuset-type would work ok? That or a heavy gauge stainless steel pan (think a precursor to All Clad – these are the pans my parents received for their wedding 50+ years ago that I still use daily) are my options.

    I can’t wait to try it. I’m thinking it will be dinner tonight or tomorrow.

  55. SamanthaJess

    Yes! I agree with mini-cake! The recipes I use has you return the rice to the pot with oil/water, poke spoon-end “holes” in it and steam it covered without the towel for 5-7 minutes on med/high. THEN removing the lid, add the towel, and cook on low for 45-60 minutes.

    In my experience a straight-up non-stick pan works much better than enameled cast iron. I am sure that a well seasoned cast iron pan would have good results. You do NOT want to use a regular stainless pan. I actually bought my non-stick high-sides saute pan SPECIFICALLY for making tahdig (crunchy rice)

  56. Mairin

    I love rice like this! My stepdad is from Iran and used to make it all the time! Like others on here, we always called it tahdig. It is delicious with the thinly sliced potatoes-you must try it! I used to call that pa-tahdig as a kid and it is still one of my favorite meals. If you have a longer time to make the rice, you can make the crunchy part really thick and then top it with a hearty stew or sauce to soften it–delicious! My favorite topping–Khoresht Ghaimeh (a stew with split peas and meat)!

  57. Laura P.

    This reminds me a little of the Korean dish dolsot bibimbap, where the rice gets its crunch from sticking to the sides of a sizzling hot stone bowl!

  58. Ania

    I make this with heavy duty foil between my heavy nonstick pan and the lid. I crimp the foil over the pan during cooking. Then when it’s time to serve, uncrimp the foil, invert the pan with the lid on, and slide the foil with the beautiful crusty rice off the lid and onto whatever serving dish you choose. No mess and hardly any cleanup!

  59. Parissa Behnia

    Hi Deb… I think 2 tablespoons of oil sounds about right-ish. It should work for a non stick pot but I can’t speak for others. I agree with using variations of thinly sliced potato or you can put some fresh lavosh on the bottom of the pot. In a pinch, my mother will mix flour and water together (about even parts). Regardless of variation, let them cook in the oil a few minutes before adding the rice.

  60. I love this type of rice. I have only had it in Ecuador (I saw one person comment that they also had it as Ecuadorian). The men from the village cooked the rice and would pour in a little oil near the end of cooking. I loved the crunchy bits and they always made sure I got the bottom rice. I will try to make it again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  61. Sarahb1313

    Yes, Deb, just to add to the cacophony of familiar recipes:
    My Sephardic family from Bukhara makes pilaf in very much the same way. It is a family dish and recipe and trying to write down the method from my mother, after years of watching her make it in the kitchen was unexpectedly challenging.

    “How much water?”, “Well, just the right amount…” “How will I know it’s done?”, “When you poke a wooden spoon handle into the rice, it will look right”

    So when I found a Sephardic Cooking cookbook, with great directions for all of these recipes, I was so relieved. And the elders in the family have confirmed… I have gotten it right ;-) But there were many attempts with a turkey baster sucking out the excess water.

    Interestingly, what seems to be a major source of moisture is the vegetables- whether it is onions or carrots, etc.,. So, yeah, it really is, “Just the right amount”.

  62. Susan

    What do you mean by “heat same” in the second paragraph? At first I thought you meant the “mixture” to be the reference of “same,” but that can’t be cuz the mixture is in a large bowl. Do you mean salted water? Also, if you don’t mind my asking, how much salted water in each step (presuming salted water is the “same” of step two)? Thanks… Sorry if these are obvious things to everyone else. I’m not much of a cook, but this sounds like something even I could make. Maybe. :-)

  63. Deb

    Persian friends taught me to make a similar dish many years ago. Instead of oil or yogurt I use a little butter and water in the bottom of the pot (just enough to cover the bottom) before adding my first layer of cooked rice. I normally use lima beans and dill, and for a non-vegetarian small cubes of beef that has been browned in oil or butter with some tumeric. After the first rice layer put a layer of the lima, some of the meat and a generous sprinkling of dried dill. Repeat layers ending with rice. As an earlier comment said, use the handle of a wooden spoon to place several round vent holes all the way to the bottom of the pot…then cover with a towel, the lid and steam. Check the progress listening for a sizzle with a wet finger on the side of the pot.

  64. Deb – I am too literal in all things. The photos and the directions did not seem to sync until i realized “Heat same over medium-high heat.” referred to the pot and not the ingredients, ie, “Heat same POT over medium-high heat.”
    This recipe will be made by me within the week.
    Thanks for your great recipes and the helpful comments from your many followers.

  65. Julie

    Susan — I think she means pot, as in “heat the same pot”, and so forth. Earlier she mentioned that this is a one pot dish. :) Hope that helps.

  66. SO GOOD. I made this last night and loved it, the flavors and texture are amazing. I do have some feedback/ tips for next time I make it: I won’t do everything in one pot. The pot was so hot from boiling the rice & lentils, that when I put in the onions, they started burning versus getting nice and caramelized (and the pot retained so much heat that I couldn’t get it to cool down enough without waiting a really long time). So, when I was ready to put my rice back in the pot, there was a thick burned-on crust from the onions. Re: coming out in one piece, I think there’s too much rice for that in this recipe (unless you use a really big/wide shallow pot). My rice was about 3-4 inches thick in the pot, and then had about 6 inches to fall out before hitting the platter, so there’s no way it would have made it one piece.

  67. Just like all the other Persians have chimed in here to say…this is one of my favorite dishes! Persians always make “tadig” (crispy rice) whenever they make rice (its the best part!). Also, if you’re interested in any extra additions to this rice, when Persians make lentil rice, they also add dates that have been fried with the onions. It’s delicious!

    And the yogurt is always a must!! :D Thanks for sharing! xo

  68. Arlene

    Looks totally fantastic….if one doesn’t like cumin, is there a substitute spice that you would recommend? (that ‘one’ would be me!)

    1. deb

      A mistake — I’m sorry, guys. I don’t know where my brain was yesterday when I forgot to mention that I added 1/3 cup water with the yogurt and lemon before returning it to the pot. The good news is, Bittman only suggests the water on half of his stuck-pot rice recipes, suggesting that you’ll be fine either way.

      These comments — Are so, so wonderful. I love reading about all of the cultures that use a techniques like this. I am now dying to read a stack of Dominican, Persian, Sephardic, etc. cookbooks. Please, keep the stories about this dish coming. I am learning so much.

      Also — I filmed a short spot yesterday with a TV news program (the reason I’ve been AWOL on comment responses since yesterday) about Internet comments and I mostly gushed about how much I learn from the comments here. So thank you.

      To review — I’m reading that this reminds people of Korean Bimbimbap (which I love), Persian Addas Polow, Persian tahdig, Indian/Pakistani Dum pukht, Ecuadorian cocolón, Dominican concon… Did I get them all?!

      The best pot for this — It definitely sounds like most people prefer this in a non-stick. I agree that it sounds like it would make the unsticking easiest.

      Mujardarra spellings — Mjuddrah, mejadra, mjaddara, moujadara, mudardara, megadarra… did I get them all?

      Arlene — Maybe some ground coriander or curry powder or really any spices or herbs you like. The recipe is flexible.

      Linda/Susan — Yes, the word pot was missing, thanks. Now fixed.

      Camille — Thank you, all fixed.

      Eleanor — That was my mistake, sorry. See my first response above.

      fh — It does and I agree! It was a real beginner effort, as I say in the post. But I was too excited about the dish to not share it before I mastered it. Please keep in mind, this isn’t an expert cooking site; this site is about finding new foods to be excited about cooking, or finding better ways to cook what you already know. Nobody is expected to be a cooking goddess. Thank goodness.

      Pietila — Bittman says you can presoak them “if you wish” which I find really confusing because they either need to be soaked or they don’t, right? Most lentils cook in 30 minutes, however, so I see no reason that they wouldn’t be done when the rice is. However, if you’re nervous, I don’t think any harm could come from a 15 minute soak before you make the dish.

      Susan — I didn’t check an amount because I didn’t give an exact amount of water. I’ll say this: if you feel your cooking is tormented by lack of seasoning, definitely go heavier on the salt in the water than seems right.

      Kalie — Yes, I mention how to swap brown rice in the head notes.

      jess — I was seriously wondering if there was a way. I mean, there must be a way, right? But I’m not sure what it is… [Updated: Laura (#69) walks us through it!]

      Michelle — Yikes, I’ve never made a trifle before and don’t consider myself versed enough to tell you the right way. Taste-wise, either would work. I thiiiink “sponges” such as the lady fingers one would use for tiramisu or a homemade sponge cake cut into cubes would be more traditional, however.

      Blargle, blargle — A hat-tip to this Tweet, which made me laugh and laugh.

  69. Angela

    I made this last night and it was delicious. I had some pomegranate vinegar and drizzled that on instead of extra lemon juice; highly recommend. I think adding sliced almonds (or pistachios?) would also be great. A handful of pomegranate seeds over the top would also be amazing. Looking forward to my lunch leftovers today!

  70. Julie

    Hi Deb, I’m (half) Lebanese and we have always spelled it “Imjadara”. This actually refers to the dish made with lentils and bulgur wheat. The version with lentils and rice is simply called Imjadara with rice :)

  71. Laurie

    I had such high hopes for this that I went out immediately and bought all the ingredients to make it the same night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very flavorful. :-/

  72. Emma

    This includes exactly the remaining things in my kitchen/pantry! You’ve saved me from shopping for another few days, and probably from the concussion I would get slipping on ice on the walk there. <3 A chilly college student on a budget

  73. KatieN.

    What a funny coincidence – we made Addas Polow last night (Persian rice with lentils). I highly recommend New Food of Life – a beautiful Persian cookbook that my husband’s Iranian father tells me is very authentic. I cook from it for our weekly Persian dinner night (I’m the only one who needs a recipe in our house – they both know their favorites by heart!)

  74. Susan

    Thanks, Deb! I’ve been drooling reading over all the comments that I’m glad to have waited for your reply. I’ll make this tomorrow and dream about it all night tonight. Silly me, asking how much water when it’s going to be drained; I must still have my old traditional rice-cooking method on the brain. Time to turn over a new (savory herb cooking) leaf. Now, to go reprint the edited recipe along with all the tasty comments! And debate over whether to using my pretty enamel pot tomorrow or the copper-bottomed Revereware. I don’t really know stick from non-stick, but I guess I’ll find out.

  75. Missmolly

    Yum! I was taught to cook this with alternating layers of basmati rice and chickpea or lamb tomato-based curry piled into a pyramid in the pan, then three holes poked in the pile with the handle of a wooden spoon and melted butter poured over. Awesome comfort food :)

  76. Sherri

    Really nice change from traditional rice. I did it in a pressure cooker. Nor quite perfect that way, but I’m going to tweak it a bit next time.

  77. Tracy

    Mmm. Mjeddrah (that’s how I like to spell it — in Arabic it’s مجدرة, so I suppose “mujadarah” would be a more correct transliteration…) and kushari (كشرى) are two of my favorite winter dishes, so this looks right up my alley (I really should look at my copy of HTCEV more often — thanks for the reminder!).

  78. Geekgirl

    The first time I ever tried this, it was made by an Israeli friend of mine. When she gave me the recipe, she spelled it “madgadera”, which was her translation from Hebrew. I also order the same dish from a local Lebanese restaurant in Portland, OR where it is listed on the menu as “mjadra”. I could eat this every day for weeks and not get tired of it!

  79. Tapati

    I have a cookbook that calls for baking the Persian rice in the second stage of the recipe, after the boiling. This is a similar recipe: I remember watching Padma Lakshmi on a culinary trip through India for Planet Food and watching rice cooked in coals with dough sealing the edges of the pot. It was amazing!

    I also do a baked version of mujadarra based on a hybrid of Alton Brown’s baked brown rice recipe and Aarti’s version of mujadarra. I add half of the caramelized onions to the brown rice and lentils with a cinnamon stick, oil and salt and bake for one hour as Alton’s recipe calls for. Top with yogurt and the rest of the onions when it’s served. Rice and lentils (with the yogurt and onions) is said to be particularly healthy for women to eat. I’d guess the iron in the lentils for one thing, and onions are said to have medicinal benefits.

    Thanks for reminding me how good this is. I know what I’ll be cooking this weekend.

  80. Ale

    I made this last night, it was great because I only had a few things left in my fridge and this recipe was perfect. I used Greek yogurt because that’s what I had and, thinking that Greek yogurt has less water content than regular yogurt, added water to the dish (even if it wasn’t mentioned in the recipe yet) and it turned out great. Served it for dinner with some glazed spicy carrots on the side. Thanks, Deb, for another budget friendly meal!

  81. Tried making this last night per exact instructions and bottom didn’t brown at all. Just need to know thy pot…but another idea. For those of you who have a rice cooker, this recipe would adapt well to it, and there’s always some browned parts on the bottom, will try it with my rice cooker and adapt it to that to see how that works. Very tasty though.

  82. Topol

    An alternative to burning the rice/lentils in a pot is to prepare the rice/lentils etc. in a pot and then press the combination against the sides of an oiled hot wok. Leave on high to medium-high heat until you’ve toasted the side of the mixture.

    The yogurt part you’d have to adapt, perhaps serve on the side, perhaps try in the wok with the rice/lentils and see if it’s absorbed. Of course, you can also cover the wok as Smitten Kitchen suggests and steam/burn in the wok.

    I just didn’t want to have to clean burned rice out of a non-stick pot (a situation that occurs accidentally too often for me) …

  83. Ashley

    I can’t wait to make this next week. Question for all of you: Does it matter what kind of pot I use? I’m choosing between a big aluminum (Cuisinart) one and an enameled cast iron one and leaning toward the cast iron. Thoughts?

  84. melissab

    yum! love the post and all these comments. i feel like i’ve been to “stuck-pot” rice school, or on a little study abroad program by reading the comments. thanks, deb, and everyone!!

  85. gobluem82

    Just wanted to say that I made this tonight using a non-stick pan, and the rice didn’t really stick (which kind of feels like stating the obvious). It did taste delicious, though. I think that it’s important to add the yogurt, lemon, and cilantro at the end to add a contrast to the rest of the dish.

  86. So, an embarrassingly long time ago (think well over a year), I bought tiny green french lentils…then never used them. Would they work here? I’d like to use them in something, and this looks wonderful. I’ve never cooked or tasted a lentil before.

  87. Cassie

    My grandma used to make the rice crunchy like this. In Chinese it’s called “Guo ba” which literally translated means, “pot scabs.” Gross, I know, but so delicious. I can’t even begin to figure out how she used to do it but maybe this is a start! Thanks!

  88. Payal

    Deb, as you already mentioned above, one of the techniques this is similar to is dum cooking in India – which of course has its roots in Persian cooking! Dum Pukht, which is the formal name, means ‘breathe in air’ loosely translated and is essentially a very refined style of cooking food in its own juices for incredible, subtle flavour. Traditional biryanis are often made like this with next to no additional water added. Also, while the cloth around the lid technique is wonderful, dum pukht uses dough to ‘seal’ the edges (a basic whole wheat/all purpose flour and water dough). You place the lid on the pan, then seal the edges with a thick ring of dough. The aroma of the dish when you first crack open the dough ring and take off the lid is like dying and going to a very refined heaven :)

    The technique tends to be used extensively on meats – chicken and lamb in particular – to make them tender and flavourful as only slow cooking can – but of course has been adapted for many vegetarian flavours too.

  89. Chrissy

    I come with no expert opinions or Iranian connections, but when I lived in Sierra Leone, the toasty rice at the bottom of the pot was called “craw” and it was so delicious. One of my many lovely “aunties” used to take care to save bits of it for me and scoop it on top of my servings of rice because she knew I loved it. This post brought on the best, warmest nostalgia of that salty crunch pilfered from the bottom of a cookfire-blackened aluminum pot that always seemed to hold enough to go around.

    Plus, I yeeeearned for yogurt in the two years I lived there, love lentils, and find few foods more comforting than a pile of fried rice. Making this might be a straight medicinal need at this point? Thank you, Deb!

  90. Carrie

    I don’t like onions, and if I’m cooking with them, I use 1/4 of what the recipe calls for, and pulverize them. If there something I might substitute?

  91. Markef

    My version of this (which I also sometimes incorporate into a Dumm dish (mentioned above) involves a little more oil in the pan at the outset and browning a largish peeled potato cut into small cubes. I then take the potato out with a slotted spoon and do pretty much what the recipe says, only re-adding the cooked potato in a layer before the pot goes into the oven.

    (I really love the flavour of roasted cumin, so what I actually do is chuck in a teaspoon or so of seeds as the potato cubes fry- it’s delicious, but you have to fish out all the cooked seeds from the oil, otherwise they burn as the onion cooks).

    Thanks for promoting such great food.

  92. I made Melissa Clark’s “One Pot Mujadara” from the New York Times a few months back, and for some reason my boyfriend and I didn’t like it :( I believe we ended up with rice that was too mushy and greens that were too overcooked… I am excited to try your version and see if we like it better!

  93. Deepti

    Another method to keep the rice from burning is – Use a flat pan on the stove and keep the rice pot on it. This way the rice pot will not get direct heat. We make biryani – a rice dish which needs a minimum of 30 min cooking time. And I use flat pan. It works every time.

  94. Kristen

    Made this tonight and served it with a caesar salad on the side. Not a traditional pairing for sure, but it was delicious!
    FWIW, I used a stainless steel pot (I have no nonstick cookware) and it turned out great. I had to scoop out the crusted bits, but no matter.

  95. Katy

    I made this on Friday night – it was delicious! My lentils ended up really really hard though – sort of worried I might break a tooth – but possibly they had burned as I think I cooked it for too long. Plus I didn’t add the water with the yoghurt. I also added a little saffron with the yoghurt which was delicious… Thank you, Deb! Also your cookbook just arrived on my desk at work… I can’t wait to get home so I can cook absolutely everything. x

  96. Kristin

    I tried this with brown rice and don’t recommend it. I parboiled the rice for about 17 mins, but it still took way longer than 30 minutes for the rice (and the lentils) to stop tasting chewy and raw, and by the time the rice was cooked, the crust on the pan was so chewy that we felt like we were going to break a tooth on it. Guessing I would have had a better result with white rice. The brown didn’t have any of that nice fluffiness.

  97. Sue

    Deb.. Have you ever read the children’s book called “My Mom loves me more than sushi” by Filomena Gomes? This was my first introduction to megadarrah… and other foods from around the world.

  98. Kathy K

    Thanks, Deb, for another great recipe! I love rice and have no problem cooking it. I don’t know if it would work for this recipe, but I use an old pressure cooker, making sure to NOT seal it tight, just put the lid on. I cook all rice with the lid on, after making sure that it’s cooking at a simmer. Perfect every time. Can’t wait to try this recipe, as I love all varieties of lentils as well!

  99. Betsy

    Hey Deb! This was yummy! I LOVE Mujadarra, and have been craving basmati rice and crunchy textures, so this was the perfect meal to kick off my 13th week of pregnancy. And yum–I ate two servings-worth in one sitting. I wanted to comment to let you know that I made this in a non-stick pan with great results. The crust turned out golden brown–perfect!
    My favorite Vietnamese restaurant makes a similar crusty rice dish called hot pot. I’d love to try to apply this technique to an Asian brown sauce to see if I could recreate that beloved meal.
    Thanks for all you do and cook, Deb!

    1. deb

      Brown rice — I’m so sorry that some of you have had trouble with brown rice. My bad, I took a Bittman adaptation at its word. I have a long history of… avoiding … that. With Bittman recipes. And should have known better. I’ve added an updated note to proceed with caution if using brown rice. I suspect that it could work, but you might even want to double the par-cooking time. The white rice, after five minutes, still has a little crunch but is surprisingly tender. I imagine you’d want that brown rice 3/4 cooked before you could move onto the stuck-pot step. Hope that helps for next time. Again, sorry for any trouble due to my over-confidence in the recipe!

      Kayvie — I can’t believe I forgot to mention it, but although I do think of lentils and rice as a stand-alone meal (plus a salad or veg side), I also made the Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and a Greek salad, like so. The yogurt and lemon wedges went great with the meatballs too.

      Mom24_4evermom — You can use those beautiful green lentils but I mention in the headnotes that I love them so much that I prefer to keep them for salads, such as this one.

      Ashley — I’d use the enameled pan, but if you have a nonstick, it definitely sounds like people have the most luck unsticking the pot of rice in one piece using those.

      Also — Now I need to buy a nonstick pot! I got rid of all of mine a few years ago — grrr.

  100. Sofi

    Is there any way to make this with brown rice? Briefly scanning the comments it sounds like that didn’t work out for the person who tried but thought I’d ask if anyone has had success with this.

  101. NancyNS

    I made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! It didn’t get quite as crispy on the entire bottom as I had hoped, so I will cook it a little longer next time, but the crispy bits were good. I rarely cook on low, so I am still learning. Thanks, Deb, for this great recipe! I can imagine many variations!

  102. Deb, I love your recipes and have an excellent track record of recreating your dishes at home. But this one… well, I made it last night and despite following the instructions to the letter it turned out kind of blah and bland; it just didn’t have any kick to it at all. The best I could say about it was that it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. But, tonight I re-purposed the leftovers with stunning success! I added a little garlic powder and salt, then a bit of feta cheese, scrambled up some egg and milk and mixed that in and then fried it as patties in some EVOO. Served with a dollop of sour cream on top they were polished off in record time. I think it’s worth it to make again just for the leftovers!

    1. deb

      Re, yogurt — I didn’t try it this way, but I believe it can be skipped. Bittman uses the same technique on most of his stuck pot recipes and only one or two contain yogurt (or sour cream). You could also bump up the water by a tablespoon or two to compensate.

  103. Laura P.

    So, I don’t have a nonstick pot with a reasonably heavy bottom–just one that’s thin as anything and may be flaking, besides. I do, however, have a very good nonstick 12″ skillet with a cover that fits. If I pre-cooked the rice and lentils in a regular pot and then pressed it into the skillet to get crusty, would that work? Or is this not likely to be big enough/the right shape?

  104. Hi Deb, I’ve made mujahara (or however it’s spelled!) several times but tried this today and I love it. I really monitored the cooking, was worried the crust would burn but it is perfect. Crispy, brown and golden bits and totally delicious. No it didn’t come out in one piece but who cares. Great recipe, thanks.

    1. deb

      Alicia — I just reheat it in the oven, but that’s how I reheat everything because I don’t have a microwave.

      Laura — I mention in the headnotes that I was curious to make it in a skillet for maximum crustiness, but I haven’t tried it. The most important thing, I’d think, is a tight-fitting lid.

  105. Chris

    Hi Deb. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this recipe with your readers. I learned how to make this from an ex of mine who is part Persian. We’d often make Tahdig just so we could eat it with our yogurt sauce, garlic, and boiled spinach while watching Netflix. Sadly, we’re no longer together, but I still make Tahdig. Every time I do, I get an overwhelming feeling of sadness that now only lasts a few seconds (time really does heal all wounds, plus I love the recipe too much). That said, I can’t wait to share this recipe with my next love and make it ours. Thank you, again, Deb. I’ve loved everything you’ve shared with us readers =)

  106. Laura P.

    I made this tonight for dinner. I used brown rice, and simmered it for about 20 minutes or so before adding the lentils. I used my 12″ nonstick skillet (which does have a tight-fitting lid). After 30 minutes in the skillet over low heat, I was not getting a crust, so I took a gamble and turned the heat up to medium for 10 more minutes. That turned out to be a GOOD gamble, as I was able to invert a perfectly crunchy and browned disk of rice and lentils onto a platter! It slid out easily. I ate it with just a little lemon and parsley, as I was out of yogurt after what I used for the recipe. This was delicious, and I intend to have leftovers for dinner for three more nights (though I’m freezing one of those servings).

  107. CarolJ

    On my own for a bit while my husband is traveling, I made a 1/3 recipe for a tasty supper tonight and another in the bank for later in the week. Afraid of crunchy lentils, I soaked both my basmati rice and lentils, separately, for two hours, and the texture came out perfectly. I also added 1/2 tsp. of ground coriander, which I like with lentils. After 30 minutes on my stove’s lowest setting, I peeked and saw that there wasn’t yet a crust, so I gave it 5 more minutes on medium without the lid, and that did the trick. I used a skillet, sealed with foil and then a lid and felt that worked well, although I did need to scrape some crusty bits out. I’m always on the lookout for new lentil recipes and am very happy to have this one in my repertoire. Thanks!

  108. LOL ok this is great. I never heard of a recipe that calls for burning the rice. Yeah I had a double take moment and a good giggle too. But reading further I like the idea and the lentils is a great way to get my husband to eat them (he turns his nose up at lentils). It does look good thought and I actually like that yours does not come out in one chunk. The broken up look is a very appointing looking indeed.

  109. marym

    I made it last night with white basmati rice; didn’t stay together or taste very good. maybe the first recipe I’ve gotten from you that wasn’t delicious.

  110. Colleen

    I have heavy pots and non-stick pots, but no heavy, non-stick pots. I went with the non-stick pot and I think that I will go with the heavy pot next time. The top of the rice was not getting cooked, so I kept turning up the heat a bit and adding a bit more wateras I kept losing the small amount of steam that I had. I actually burned things which then proceeded to stick to the pot. It is definitely worth another try though.

  111. bloomie

    Stuck rice, what white folks call tahdig.

    Some tips in my family is to add an egg to the rice at the bottom, it’s a really tasty touch. You beat an egg and add a cup or two of cooked rice and spread that on the bottom, we also sometimes use sliced potatoes which is delicious.

    We also pile the rest of the rice on top, cover it with a damp towel – cloth or paper – cover and set it on super low for as short as half an hour, as long as 5 if needs be, it never overcooks.

  112. Victoria

    Hello from across the pond. I came by your website after briefly spotting your book in my local Marks & Spencer (M&S) store here in England, then after making a mental note of your name/blog, decided to google you once home. This if the first thing I’ve made from your site but am hoping to attempt many more!

    This looked so appealing that I decided to make it for tonight’s supper, however the overall taste although nice, was rather disappointing. We found the cumin overwhelmed (and we like cumin) and left a powdery texture, but maybe if it was fried with the onions it would eliminate this, therefore, I’ll probably do that next time. I didn’t have any basmati rice only arborio, paella and long grain so used the latter which I guessed would give a wetter consistency and unfortunately, it did. I often adapt recipes depending on taste and/or what I have in the cupboard, but won’t usually attempt one unless I have (more or less) the correct ‘core’ ingredients yet thought I’d chance it this time anyway. I cooked it on the lowest possible gas in a heavy based stainless steel saucepan (I don’t have non-stick/cast iron and only a non-stick frying pan without a lid) which may also have made a difference to the outcome, and although the rice did stick with some crunchy bits, sadly there wasn’t much. The rest was rather wet (as predicted) without the separated grains like yours and think it was possibly a combination of wrong rice/pot (or the cook?!), however, I will definitely try making this again albeit with the correct rice/pot and slight adaptation to the cumin.

    PS – Sorry for the very long first post!

  113. Maria

    I made this for lunch today, I should have waited for the weekend, because we couldn’t stop eating, and now I have to work and I’m here, commenting, incapable of doing even the slightest.
    That was an elaborate way to say that I ate way too much; but how could I not?
    Maybe it was me using the exact right amount of cumin we like, but I didn’t have the problem Victoria had. The tastes all complemented each other nicely and the dark crunchy parts? There WAS a butter knife fight at our table for those!
    I had to proceed really carefully, because it was the first time I made it and had to keep an eye on everything. Also, being in Greece, pots, pans and stoves are different here, so I had to improvise a bit on the temperatures (you can’t go from medium to low quickly, for example), but it all turned out perfect in the end. I also boiled the lentils for a couple of minutes in the beginning and discarded the water, to make them lighter (Greeks have an OCD over this, my mom can always tell if I haven’t done it!), but all in all I did all you said and didn’t regret one bit.
    Now, I’m praying I won’t get the urge to count calories, because, oh my gosh, we ate a lot! :D
    Thank you :)

  114. Suzanne

    I made it last night and loved it. I am attempting to work lentils into the family diet more…and work on my comfort level cooking them. Thank you for a lovely side that I could make after work and feel good about setting on the table.

  115. Jennie

    How is it only 1/3 cup of water? Won’t it evaporate immediately or is that the point. This sounds so yummy and I’m afraid of burning it!

  116. Andy

    I will be making this tomorrow! I would imagine the secret to getting it to NOT fuse to the pan is really heat the pan up to where a drop of water does the “mercury” thing, then add the oil. Also, I have to say: towel on top of pot on a gas stove, FREAKING ME OUT! Sorry, firefighter here. If you do that please don’t leave the room. :-)

  117. msue

    We made this in a Le Creuset pot, and although it was well oiled, the lentil/rice mixture did not come out in one piece. Some of the rice came out easily, but the crunchy part was practically welded to the pot. We chipped it out as best as possible, then used herculean methods to clean what remained. Nevertheless, it was delicious. We reheated the ample leftovers in a pyrex casserole, drizzle with about a half cup of chicken broth, and tightly covered with foil. I did love the dish despite the difficulty removing it from the pot.

  118. anne

    I used a well seasoned iron pot, just like yours Deb, and it came out in one flat disc. Season that thing! Nonstick is unhealthy, especially for such long slow cooking. Do three turns in the oven, heat it, oil it, cool it, wipe it, X3, and that thing will be slicker than ice.

  119. becky

    I have a favorite Persian dish very similar to this one. The main difference is that I only saute half an onion, then make shoe string onion rings with the other half of the onion. It adds more crunch for the rice at the top of the pot that doesnt get as crunchy. Divine!

  120. Nivia

    I made these today with half brown basmati/half regular basmati (I ran out of the white basmati unfortunately) and red lentils (masoor dal). Parboiled brown basmati rice for around 15 minutes taking your note into account before adding the lentils and the white basmati and then added the lentil/white basmati for about 5 minutes. By the time I removed everything from the pot, the rice was almost cooked, so when I mixed in the yogurt and other lentils, the rice was clumping/mushy. So, I think the 10 minute mark might be right for brown basmati, but perhaps not enough for plain old brown rice. Doing it longer for brown basmati cooked the rice too much in that step. I also think the lentils were not the right kind because they cook up faster/lose shape and add additional moisture. There was not too much crust; I was too impatient/worried about even mushier rice. But the taste was delicious! The addition of caramelized onions was a great touch. Very similar to Indian rice/dal but with a different twist. Next time I will try it with brown lentils and all basmati rice.
    Also, in Indian cooking, we generally grind cumin seeds with peppercorns (white or black, it doesn’t matter) for our own cumin pepper powder. It’s roughly 2/3 cumin and 1/3 pepper, but can be adjusted to your preferences. I used 2 tsp of this mixture instead of pure cumin, and it packed a nice punch. Served it with Tzaziki sauce. Just the thing for this ice storm. Thank you!

  121. Vidya

    Success! I used fromage blanc – because it’s all I could find – and a bare minimum of oil, because I was out. Liking this a lot more than most mujadarra recipes. The crust makes all the difference. I literally live off stuck pot rice, I make it about twice a week. This is a nicely nutritionally balanced version.

  122. G.T.

    …in this recipe, what does water (edited) mean? When the rice & lentils are first cooked, how much water is used?

    Thank you

    1. deb

      G.T. — It means I added it after it was published; had forgotten the water initially and didn’t want people to do a double-take when it suddenly appeared.

  123. Mary K.

    Made this using Trader Joe’s brown rice (their brown basmati) with some success. It’s very tasty and the lentils and rice were fully cooked, but it didn’t really produce a solid crust or hold a shape — I served it out of the skillet and skipped the inversion. I parboiled the rice for 12 minutes, added the lentils, and boiled them together for an additional 5 minutes. Both lentils and rice were almost cooked through at this point. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet and cooked over very low for 30 minutes, then cranked the heat to medium-high for five minutes or so. Got some crunch, but not a solid crust. Harissa and additional fried onions are a nice topping.

  124. alison

    Deb – do you think this recipe would work with yellow split peas (which I think are close to red or yellow lentils)? I think I would just need to cook them less so they don’t get too mushy. Thanks!

  125. Betsy

    My husband made this for me last night when I had a bad migraine and it was the perfect dinner – even though he found it alarming to be deliberately cultivating the thing we usually avoid with cooking rice! thank you for a lovely winter weekday recipe.

  126. Danielle S

    I have been swooning over this recipe since last week when I made it for the first time. Since then I’ve been obsessively mulling over how I might use the cooking techniques and apply à la southern beans and rice. I’m getting stuck on the beans (canned, dried and soaked)? I’d love any tips, thoughts or feedback!

  127. Nizar

    I am Lebanese, and I grew up eating this on a weekly basis (minus the stuck-pot part, which is Iranian). Even within a tiny country like Lebanon, there are many variations on this dish depending on what area you are from. I grew up in Beirut, by the Mediterranean, but my mom’s ancestors are from the mountains, where meat was scarce and grain was the main source of protein. Her repertoire is then rich in vegetarian Lebanese dishes like this one.

    In my family, this is called mdardara, whereas mjaddara is a very similar dish where the lentils are actually puréed. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of both dishes is the very distinct cumin flavor. Delicious.

    My mother always served it with a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and dried mint, with a lemon-olive oil dressing.

    I am now based in New York, and I cook food inspired by Lebanese mountains all the time. Let me know if you ever need inspiration :)

  128. Lisa

    I made this tonight with brown basmati rice. As suggested I cooked the rice close to 15 mins in the first step. In addition I added about a half cup of water in the last step (as opposed to 1/3). It was fantastic ! Great recipe with easy ingredients that you often have in the house. I would definitely make this again!

  129. Ashley

    This was delicious, especially with the yogurt on the side! My lentils were still really firm when the rice was done… they were definitely cooked enough to eat, but it did make me wonder if they should be a little softer? Regardless, it was super yummy and I can’t wait to eat leftovers for lunch. :)

  130. cloudcover

    Tried making this last weekend but unfortunately the results were pretty disappointing. The main problem I had was that the “crust” part was not just crispy, but downright hard. It tasted like the rice and/or lentils hadn’t cooked long enough in the initial boiling stage and instead remained undercooked/hard. And then in the skillet (which was nonstick), maybe the parts at the bottom in contact with the oil didn’t get a chance to steam-cook and soften? I’d love to know what to do differently because the dish seems to have lots of potential.

  131. Deborah

    I didn’t have time to read each comment but skimmed them all looking for the words “ovenbaked” and any low degree idea like “225 degrees” –Just curious if anyone tried the final cooking part in a low oven? I’m going to try it in a medium Le Creuset and maybe line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper sprayed with non-stick oil–does this sound remotely likely to come out ok? And can anyone suggest a good degree of heat to try it at? My stovetop burners are really finicky and not consistant enough for good steady heat. Thanks for any ideas!

  132. Deborah

    PS–DID NOT mean to sound rude re: time to read, I really just meant I couldn’t read each one thoroughly and was looking for key words..Sorry!!! I intend to read in more depth later, for sure!

  133. Holly

    Yum! Looks delish. I am also a cook who can never make rice correctly and this seems like the perfect dish to try! How much water do you boil the rice and lentils in?

  134. Jessica

    Deb, I loved this recipe! Made it in a 12″ calphalon skillet and it turned out beautifully! Awesome crust to inside ratio. I cranked up the heat at the end for just a minute to increase the browning. I took it to work for lunch all week!

  135. pjcamp


    No crust, rice like gravel.

    It could be good but I think it needs to be cooked before it’s cooked, if you know what I mean.

  136. Maggie

    Went a little crazy with this one; I was desperate to make it but had none of the ingredients… so I used shallots, honey greek yogurt, couscous, nutmeg, a tiny bit of garlic, peas, red lentils, and tons of salt and pepper. It was incredible, the texture like grits— new favourite thing I can make.

  137. Rachel

    This was delicious! I found the timings to be spot on. The suggestion to soak the French green lentils for 15 minutes or so before boiling them was a good one. They take longer to cook than regular brown lentils, and I think that without soaking them they might have been undercooked. As it was, they came out beautifully! While the final product did not come out in one piece, I found the crust scraped off the pot bottom with absolutely no problem.

    Since I had been planning to make your curried lentil and sweet potato recipe when I went shopping this past weekend, I added the fresh ginger that I would have added to that and replaced the lemon juice with lime juice and zest. I also used butter with a little canola oil (to raise the smoke point) instead of olive oil.

    The final addition of lime juice at the end and serving the dish with extra yogurt were both really important for the final flavor and texture of the dish, both of which were wonderful!

  138. Rebecca

    Thank you so much! I just finished a nice little bowl of leftovers for lunch. It was a huge hit for dinner, and my 7 year old thought the onions were noodles and wolfed it down and said “I could eat this all day!” Delightful. Although I didn’t get much sticking. Next time! It’s still the best rice ever.

  139. I made this last night and it was delicious! My only issue was that the medium-high heat is way too hot on my stove. The bottom burnt almost instantly. I’m looking forward to trying agin with a lower heat.

  140. Susan Snyder

    Hi: I tried this last night and it didn’t work for me at all. I never got the rice crusty, and the lentils weren’t soft enough. Should I try adding more water? What if I soaked the lentils beforehand? Any other thoughts on what I did wrong? (I followed the instructions.) I really wanted this to work — it sounds amazing and the combination of flavors was great, even without the crusty rice and the not-soft-enough lentils. Thanks for any advice!

    1. deb

      My concern is growing that my lentils, being tiny, might just have cooked faster than the lentils most people have, and it’s causing trouble. I will add a note suggesting a pre-soak which I think will help. As for crustiness, I would just cook it longer or a touch hotter. Eventually, any rice dish will always cook to a crustiness before it burns. Of course, we will stop before we let that happen!

  141. Reg

    Up to now I thought rice is rice is rice, but the more I look into it, more different recipes appear. I seem to have the same problem as one of the other comments, that the heat on my hob is just too hot, resulting in burning the bottom layer of rice. My second attempt was much better, using a bigger and thicker pan on the smallest burner of the hob. Crusty rice… amazing who would have thought !

  142. Rosemary

    I made this after I’d been laid up for most of the day with a migraine and wow did it hit the spot. I swapped out an onion for a shallot since that’s what I had and sour cream in places of the yogurt and it was great.

  143. Song

    Dinner tonight! Unfortunately was out of lentils of any variety, so I tried using split peas….we shall see. It’s under the towel as we speak…. Good luck to me :)

    Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  144. Checking in to note that I made this tonight in a non stick pot and it came out great! I think I was a little too cautious with my heat – the bottom was not as crusty browned as I envisioned – but everything flopped out (mostly) onto a plate when I inverted the pot, and we scarfed it.

  145. andreea

    just made this and loved the freshness of the lemon in combination with the whole dish! turned out very nice, i must say. i’m, however, wondering whether adding some balsamic vinegar to the onions caramelizing would be too strong for the overall taste of the dish…

  146. Angela

    I just made it for the dinner tonight….. its a toss between “OMG, I love you” and “how have I never made this before?”. I used the green little lentils I got from Trader Joe’s… (were those the ones that you told us NOT to get?) and they worked out fine. I made it in a large sauce pan (I see that you did a cast iron skillet…too heavy for me) and it had a little crust on the top. Probably not as big as yours but it worked. I love that you’re expanding to different regions of the world and people have responded in kind to wherever they had their first “stuck pot rice”. Again, another wonderful dish of food that I am happy to serve my family and know that it’s good for them and somewhat easy to make (love that you only need one pot and one bowl for the whole thing). Keep the ethnic food dishes coming!!

  147. Samantha M.

    I have made this a couple times, and I added harissa to the onions to bring up the heat of the dish- it goes really really well! I wish I had a pan that would allow me to get it a little crustier- my le creuset has the best lid but I would love it if I had a cast iron with a lid. I love the dish enough- I’m going to look for the perfect pan to cook it in.

  148. pat

    Really enjoyed the taste. I used half lentils and half split green pea. Also I used more olive oil when I put the rice back in. It made it very crisp. Will probably start experimenting with other ingredients. Chicken and asparagas …..

  149. Paula

    I’ve been hungering for this dish since first posted but wanted a non-stick pan to make it in (I have an enameled cast iron pan the right size but knew the crust would stay behind). Finally found an appropriate one on sale Saturday so made it today. Delicious and with the added aura of virtue I always get when I eat meatless meals!

    I soaked the lentils and rinsed the rice before preparing. I cooked the lentils 10 min & rice 5, then strained as per directions and started the onions. While the onions were cooking the rice and lentils sat in the bowl continuing to steam; by the time the onions were brown they were perfectly tender and cooked through. I eliminated the additional water called for in the recipe, other wise followed the rest of the recipe pretty closely (only change was I added a pinch of saffron and 2tsp of smoked paprika with cumin). Came out great, not mushy, with good crust.

    Next time I think I will sauté a minced serrano chili with the onions.

  150. Cleo

    I’m going to echo the people saying this sounds a lot like Puerto Rican pegao. If you’re searching for a pan to experiment with, I’d recommend looking into a caldero. They’re thin aluminum dutch ovens that are quite popular in Puerto Rican cuisine, and most of Puerto Ricans I know use them to make stuck-pot rice.

  151. Meg in VT

    I have made this twice (2nd time with more better crunchy results) and wanted to thank you so much for the recipe!!! I made a huge batch and I am here to report that it makes a divine summer dish, perfect served cold with some extra yogurt and minced scallions on top! Fed my family for 2 nights and me for several days.

    In the same category, I wondered if you had ever made the tomato rice from Louisa Shafia’s New Persian Kitchen. Since I was already baking, I cheated and made it on the stove top, where it only took 30 minutes to cook (especially because I used white rice instead of brown, which (bonus) means no soaking). Which put it in the category of ‘weeknight’ dinner. Also, I couldn’t find dried limes for her recipe, used Thai lime leaf, and it turned out totally delicious. And great cold the next day, so perfect for summer. Just thought I’d pass along the idea in case you need more (ha ha, as if!!)

    1. deb

      Meg — I am so glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t made the tomato rice but that book has been on my wish list for a while. Do you love it?

  152. Barb

    This was so lovely.

    I have made another version of this from Jeffrey Steingarten (I think it was in The Man Who Ate Everything) that includes braised lamb shoulder and the most delicous blend of spices.
    If you eat meat, I cannot overstate how AMAZING this dish is with lamb.

  153. Andrew

    It is worth noting that if one uses a cast iron pot, as it looks like you did in the photos, and I did a few days ago, it might not be the best idea to use that pot for every step, as you have suggestd in the updated directions. I did use it for every step, and at the end, I lost a lot of seasoning from my pot. Since then, I’ve done some research online, and it seems that lots of people have had similar experiences after boiling water in their cast iron cookware.
    That said, wonderful recipe, and I definitely intend to make it again after I reseason my cast iron! :)

  154. Christine

    As someone with two small children, I must apologize for my tardiness in actually making this recipe, a good 10 months after bookmarking it for an IMMEDIATE dinner project. But I had to come back to say how delicious this was! And I’m loving a re-crisped version for breakfast with a fried egg on top.

  155. Amy

    I keep walking back and forth between the living room and kitchen to get second and third and forth servings of this dish that I have half a mind simply to walk the giant pot over and plop it down on my coffee table to eat straight out of the pot. I ended up using brown basmati rice and large green lentils, following the detailed notes. SO GOOD!

  156. Joy

    I made this with brown rice (soaked overnight and parboiled 10 minutes before adding the lentils for an additional 5) and baharat (instead of cumin). The rice was cooked through (no crunch!) but there was also no crispy-crust. I’ve got plenty left over though to try again via single-serving fry with a slick of oil.

    BUT ALSO I wanted to thank you for the spaghetti squash/black bean tacos from your book! my brother had an accident in the grocery store and cracked/bought a squash with no real interest in eating it and I wasn’t any more interested… but my cousin came up to tour collages and we were having tacos and needless to say they were a huge hit! I added some paprika (sweet) and ancho chili powder to the other spices. I’m not sure the paprika was worth adding but I did like the subtle hint of heat from the ancho.

  157. Kari

    I made this last night and it was amazing! (A budget meal was on our minds, not unlike your post today…) I used brown basmati rice, and it came out perfectly cooked. Here are my few adaptations:
    As Deb recommended, I put the brown rice in the boiling water to start its cooking first. I cooked it for 10 min, then added the lentils and cooked another ten minutes. I strained the rice/lentil mixture, reserving the water. Then, instead of adding back in 1/3 c of fresh water, I used water from this reserved water, and I used 2/3 cup. (I noticed when I poured in just 1/3, most of it was reabsorbed by the mixture before I’d even finished squeezing the lemon juice.
    I used a large non-stick skillet with a heavy lid, and my crust came out beautifully! So delicious. I added a tsp of all spice in addition to the cumin because I associate that aroma with my favorite mujadra.
    I only wish I had some extra caramelized onions to add on top with the yogurt. Maybe with the leftovers…

  158. Sara

    Can you recommend a veggie side to go with this, some kind of salad or something?

    By the way, I’m adopted and my biological mother was Iranian, and an Iranian co-worker of my father’s gave me a Persian cookbook when I was in high school. I tried once to make Tah Dig and it was a big, fat, awful pile of fail that I never attempted again, but this inspires me to try it again. :)

  159. deb

    Sara — This would be great with a cucumber salad, or a cucumber-tomato salad (with lemon, parsley and olive oil). Or whatever vegetable you have in season, cooked simply.

  160. Liz

    deb – The cucumber-tomato salad you described, in Persian cuisine, is called salad shirazi (although it’s made with mint instead of parsley). So as far as Iranian side dishes go, you hit the nail on the head!

  161. Amanda

    Made this just now to use up some lentils (from an overenthusiastic attempt at veggie burgers) and it worked great! Even the dubious meat eater is having seconds. Works great with a culturally blasphemous drizzle of Sriracha on top. :D

  162. John Rolli

    We have Afghan refugees coming to sponsor and set up their kitchen. Where can we find listing of kitchen foods and pots they would likely want? What is difference between Persian Rice cooker and Asian? Also saw a Humaira rice cooker? but can’t locate any more than a recipe reference. Would really love all helps. Also “Kosher Persian Food blog” is mentioned earlier but need more specifics. Terrific and thanks to all. They are coming Dec 2. Hope you see this!!!

  163. Made this last night and the lentils were crunchy and the rice not all cooked. I poured in some more water, cranked up the heat to get some steam going, and let it cook another 25 minutes. Eventually it cooked and it was delicious, but next time I will cook the lentils longer initially and not turn the heat so low.

  164. Randi

    This sounds tasty! But I am just TERRIBLE at cooking rice so I’m kinda scared. I’m half Japanese and half white and CLEARLY in that mix I was not gifted the Asian rice cooking gene. However, I grew up with my non-Japanese mother and she cooks rice just fine, so it may just be a personal defect. :-/

  165. Stephen

    Nice flavor! I didn’t have lentils and didn’t want to venture out (it’s cold out there tonight!), so I simply omitted the lentils, parboiled the rice for five minutes, then mixed in a can of drained, cooked chickpeas right before I put the rice back into the pot to cook slowly. It worked out beautifully.

  166. Stacey

    So I substituted jasmine rice, and I somehow missed the “turn heat to very low” and left the pot on medium. Consequently some of the rice and onions burnt – but it still tasted delicious. It was significantly better after I added a squeeze of fresh lemon and a shake of salt. Thanks Deb! Will definitely make again (the right way).

  167. Amy

    I just made this on a charcoal brazier since we ran out of gas. I used my cast iron dutch oven and it was perfect! The brazier slowly cooled as I worked through the steps so it was just the right temperature for the last step.

    I now know what I will cook when this happens again. (Running out of gas is an unfortunate consequence of living in the African bush)

  168. Redpoint

    And maybe it’s just me, but I find it takes a long time to caramelize onions, not just 15 minutes. Maybe you keep the heat up high? Thanks

    1. deb

      Redpoint — Putting a lid on the onions in the beginning speeds up the process; I learned this technique from Julia Child’s onion soup and have used it since. It’s very helpful.

  169. Redpoint

    Thanks so much for the tip. It came out yummy! Sadly I didn’t get a crust. I bought a new non-stick pan. It might do better with a pan with a little stick? I will make it again, definitely. Thank you.

  170. Allison

    I’ve made this twice, once with white basmati and once with short grain brown rice. White basmati worked great, and I loved the addition of yogurt — it made the dish subtly creamy. I wouldn’t recommend the brown rice though. I parcooked it for 25 minutes and it was still undercooked, even with the 35 minutes of additional cooking time. And nothing really got crispy at the end, even when I cranked up the heat in the last few minutes. It was just kind of dry and underdone. I see that my experience is pretty consistent with other people who tried brown rice!

  171. frances

    i was asked to make a grain and bean type side dish for the potluck wedding of my husband’s co-worker. this being a regular dinner for us, i made two batches of it (even if i’d had large enough pans, i doubted the cooking time, and this wasn’t the moment to screw it up), and not a bite left by the end of the reception. i finally thought to comment about it as i am about to start it for tonight again!

  172. Frances

    At this point I literally can’t even count how many times I’ve made this. It’s easy, it’s fast, it has the right amount of downtime to do the (minimal) clean up, and most importantly, it’s delicious and satisfying. Also… It’s adaptable. Last time I realised in the middle I was short on lentils; estimated the rice and it was fine. Tonight, um, realised I am out of yogurt…. Stretched the last of the sour cream with some milk. It worked. I do use two pans- a pot for the rice and lentils, and a big pan for the onions and finishing. This way I can get the onions going while the lentils and rice cook, plus I’m not struggling with boiling water in a shallow pan (so, so bad…) and can get that better crust ratio (so, SO good). Always a favorite here!