Palestinian Bulgur & Beans

Yield: 2 large servings

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

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This recipe can be made with a variety of grains and beans—whatever you have on hand. Accompany with tahini, yogurt, and anything pickled!



1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
2 cups reserved bean cooking liquid or water
1 cup coarse bulgur wheat
2 medium white onions, minced
1 tsp cumin
3 cardamom pods, cracked
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp olive oil
Dash paprika
Dash black pepper
Salt, to taste


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Sauté the onions with a little salt until golden brown. Remove 1 tablespoon of cooked onion from the pot and set aside for later.

2. Place the bulgur wheat in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water. Add the bulgur wheat, bay leaf, cardamom, cumin, paprika, and black pepper to the onion. Sauté until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add kidney beans, a teaspoon of salt, and reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, until the bulgur is cooked through.

4. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with a pinch of salt. Pour it over the mjaddara.

5. Use a chopstick to fluff the mixture, being careful not to damage the kidney beans.

6. Turn off the heat, cover the pot again, and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the mjaddara to plates and top with the cooked onion. Serve!

Recipe by Mirna Bamieh

“My artistic practice and has led me to search for and preserve traditional recipes on the verge of disappearance, learning and cataloguing pantry and food preservation techniques. Mjaddara has lots of variations, and can be made with rice, wheat, or coarse bulgur. I used kidney beans for their delicious rich flavor, but you can try the traditional brown lentils, or anything firm. Top with with a nutty sauce like tahini, and tangy pickles!”

MIRNA BAMIEH is an artist and chef. Bamieh founded the Palestine Hosting Society in 2017 as an extension of her artistic practice, examining the politics of disappearance, and memory creation. Bamieh creates work that unpacks social concerns and limitations in contemporary political dilemmas, and reflects on the conditions that characterize Palestinian communities.

May 17, 2020. Photo by Mirna Bamieh.

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