Food Styling by Maya Oryan – Photography by Serge Oryan
Mornings are the worst when one is sick. I still have the cold and waking up in the morning with a persistent cough and a very dry throat.
My beloved husband came to bed this morning, with some freshly squeezed OJ and told me: “I cooked Makhlouta for the kids and you”.
I guessed he was cooking Makhlouta as I heard the pressure cooker whistling;-) It’s still awesome news, no! He knew I was too sick to enter the kitchen. How sweet of him!
I love how he didn’t say lunch or dinner, he said Makhlouta his favorite meal -and mine- on a cold winter day like today.
Makhlouta is a Lebanese traditional stew that means “mixed” because it consists of a mixture of pulses and beans. There’s no straight recipe, it can be any kind of 5 to 7 pulses and grains. Open your kitchen cabinet or check your pantry and take a handful of every grain you have there.
I grew in the heart of the city and my parents never cooked Makhlouta for us, while my husband grew in a Lebanese village called Baskinta situated at an altitude of 1250 meters above sea level. The winter in Baskinta is cold and snowy, so many dishes are pulses based and Makhlouta is a meal you can eat twice a week. Now that we are married, anytime I ask him what to cook, his answer would be anything with whole grains.
Makhlouta is loaded with fibers and protein, its simple ingredients makes of it a very easy vegetarian thick soup.
This recipe uses pinto beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, whole wheat, brown rice and cracked wheat but feel free to use any 5 to 6 variety of your choice like broad beans, white beans, red kidney bean. The most common is to use brown lentils, but this recipe uses a mix of 3 colors lentils as we had an organic mix in our pantry.
NOT ONLY HE COOKED FOR ME, BUT HE ALSO TOOK THIS BEAUTIFUL, MOUTH-WATERING PHOTO! SERGE YOU’RE A TREASURE!
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- ¼ cup mixed 3 colors lentils, washed and drained
- ¼ cup brown rice, washed and drained
- ¼ cup Burghul or cracked wheat, washed and drained
- ¼ cup whole wheat
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cup pinto beans, soaked in water overnight
- 1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked in water overnight
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt to taste
- Cumin (optional)
- Extra virgin Olive oil, to drizzle
- Drain and rinse the beans and the chickpeas. Place it in a pressure cook, cover with water and let cook.
- In a separate pan, heat the oil and fry the onion until wilt and brown.
- Add lentils, rice, burghul, whole wheat and water and bring to a boil.
- Add the cooked beans and chickpeas, with their water, stir in tomato paste. Season with salt, and cumin if desired, and simmer until everything is tender.
- Before serving, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy.
Tip 1: If you’re not using a pressure cook, place the beans in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer. Let it cook until tender; this might take a little over an hour, depends on how fresh are the dried beans.
Tip 2: While soaking the beans, you may rinse and change the water after a couple of hours, if you want. Use a lot of water as the beans will grow in size and volume.