Koshari is a very popular dish in Egypt. It consists of mixture of pasta, rice, chick peas and lentils, which are covered in a tomato sauce and topped with fried onions. I’ve had the opportunity to try it a few times at restaurants, but I wanted to give making my own a shot. I must say it turned out even better than I was expecting. It’s a bit time consuming to prepare, but I can definitely see this recipe becoming part of our regular menu.
Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1.5 cups ditalini dried pasta
1 14 oz can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)
3/4 cup brown lentils
3/4 cup rice
1.5 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp butter
1 14 oz can of tomatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1 small onion (diced)
3-4 small cloves of garlic (minced)
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce (optional)
Most recipes call for french fried onions to be used as garnish, but since I don’t like the pre-made ones, I decided to make my own.
French fried onions
1-2 small onions (sliced very thinly)
1 cup buttermilk (or use regular milk with 1 tsp white vinegar)
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
oil for frying
I started by making the french fried onions. First I soaked the onion slices in buttermilk for about 10 minutes.
I then put my oil in a frying pan on the stove top. Apparently you want it to get to around 350 degrees, but since I don’t have a thermometer, I just winged it.
While I was waiting for the oil to heat up, I mixed the dry ingredients – flour, salt, pepper and cayenne. I tossed the onions in the batter and made sure they were completely covered. When the oil was hot enough I threw them in and cooked until they were golden brown. They turned out really well.
After this I worked on the koshari itself.
First I mixed the chickpeas, red wine vinegar, cumin, coriander and cayenne together. I let them marinate in the fridge while I worked on everything else.
Next I moved onto the lentils. You can follow the directions on the package for this, but since mine were in arabic, I just rinsed them and put into a pot with water and a pinch of salt and pepper. I simmered them for about 30 minutes.
Then I prepared the rice. For this I melted butter in a pot and then threw in the rice and cooked it for a couple of minutes. I then added chicken stock and cooked for about 20 minutes more.
Then I cooked the pasta.
And finally I prepared the sauce. To do this I added a little oil in a pan and cooked the onions and garlic for a few minutes. I then added the canned tomatoes. I found that my tomatoes were in a rather thick sauce, so I added a little extra water to thin it out. And lastly I added salt and pepper to taste.
Next step was to assemble the koshari. The recipe that I was using as a guide said to layer the pasta, rice, chick peas and lentils, which I believe is how it’s traditionally served, however, I wanted my chick peas warmed up. Also my lentils had been sitting for a while so I wanted them a little warmer too. So I just threw everything in a pot and heated for a couple of minutes. We don’t have a microwave here, so sometimes you have to improvise!
I served the koshari by plating the pasta mixture and topping it with the tomato sauce and fried onions. I also added a little hot sauce, which it is often served with in restaurants too. Delicious!