When we first discovered Koshari, we were thrilled, as the promise of this dish is great. It comprises some of our favorites – lentils, rice, macaroni and spices. Bye-bye “mac and cheese” – hello “koshari”. Plus, trying the cuisine of a new, “as yet undiscovered country”, is always an opportunity we gladly welcome.
This Egyptian dish is an intriguing and flavorful combination of leftover rice, macaroni, lentils which are topped with tomato sauce. Other optional additions are chickpeas, crispy fried onions and of course, hot sauce, if you so desire. This dish is from around the mid-19th century and it’s origin is a creation of necessity. At the end of each month, working class Egyptian families would have a little bit of everything left in their pantry, and they would use it up by making this yummy dish. This is totally the style of cooking we love – open up your pantry/refrigerator, see what you have left and make some magic. :)
Needless to say this dish was a hit with everyone at our home and leftovers make a delightful school lunch the next day.
Koshari from The Egyptian’s Wife
I also added about a teaspoon of ground cumin and topped my koshari with some hot sauce. Good dish for vegan Mondays. :)
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup uncooked pasta (elbow macaroni is best)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili powder (or more to taste)
salt and black pepper
- Cook the lentils in just over a 5 cups of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you are using. Keep checking and add water if needed.
- At the same time cook up some rice using a 1 cup rice to 2 cups water ratio. (we used leftover rice)
- Cook the macaroni in a separate pot like you normally would. Rinse and strain when done.
- Meanwhile, fry the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. At the very last minute of frying add the coriander. Then just pour the tomato sauce on and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Mix the lentils, rice and macaroni together in one pot.
- Place some of the lentil/rice/macaroni mixture on each plate and top with tomato sauce. Sprinkle with hot chili powder or salt and pepper, if desired.