Fakes (pronounced fakhés) moutjentra is a lentil recipe we make in Cyprus and is a high protein, balanced healthy food, especially with the combination of rice. In Greece they make a similar recipe in the Aegean islands which is called Fakoryzo, meaning lentils and rice.
I remember when my mother used to make moutzentra, she would fry lots of onions until caramelized and mix them in. However, I also remember how we used to hate the onions when we were young and in order to eat some my mother would also fry some eggs, which we loved but promised to eat some lentils as well. My children weren’t also fond of this dish so in order to get them to start eating them, I would not let the onion brown completely so that it would not be visible in the plate. I then did the same thing my mother did and bribed them with some fried eggs:) Now that they have grown up, they love this dish.
We also make this dish by adding any kind of small pasta instead of rice.
Until recently, I used to think that this recipe is made only in Cyprus but reading recipes all over the world I found out that a lentil and rice Middle Eastern dish called mujaddara or mejadra is similar and I now know that the dish, has a middle eastern influence.
In Cyprus we use the brown lentils which do not need to be previously soaked in water. These lentils are cooked very easily, so we put them to boil for five to ten minutes and then drain them. We add fresh water and cook then for fifteen minutes and in the meantime we fry some onions. When the rice is cooked we add the caramelized onions.
My daughter’s plate!
The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 1 of my e-cookbook.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,