Egyptian Koshari

Egyptian Koshari

I was watching a television program the other day when one of the characters mentioned koshari, and suddenly it was the only thing I wanted to eat for the rest of the week. Koshari is an Egyptian dish, and I liken it to a much more elaborate version of mujadarrah. All of the ingredients are cooked separately, then plated together with a garlicky, vinegary tomato sauce on top (I keep more on the side for people to add to their plate). It is naturally vegan – like most delicious things it originated as a sort of ‘peasant food’ and so it’s a carb-lovers dream. It is from a time in Egypt when Italian and Indian cuisine began influencing Egyptian food, which helps to explain the addition of pasta. It’s the perfect main course to use up grains in your pantry.

I prepare my koshari by cooking a cup of long-grain (I used basmati) or medium-grain rice in my rice cooker. Then I add a cup of French green lentils to some salted water and simmer on medium-high for about twenty minutes, until they are softened. Similarly, I take a cup of macaroni and cook it in salted water until it’s al dente. I drain and rinse a tin of chickpeas and set them aside. My onions look a little light here – they were more caramelised than fried (like I do for mujadarrah), so I recommend either using pre-made fried onions if you’re short on time, or frying them rather than caramelising. The sauce is prepared with tinned tomato sauce, toum (or crushed garlic), grated onion, vinegar, and a little cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper. I also like to add harissa to mine, for a spicier sauce, and I always have shatta on hand to add to the top for extra spiciness (can you tell I’m a chili head?!)

This dish is perfect for a Meatless Monday, as it’s unintentionally vegan and still super filling. To make it slightly healthier I like to serve it alongside a simple chopped vegetable salad dressed with lemon, olive oil, and za’atar.

Egyptian Koshari

This traditional Egyptian meal is vegan and serves a crowd. Layers of rice, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas are topped with a spicy, vinegary tomato sauce and topped with fried onions.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Assembly Time:5 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Mezze
Cuisine: Egyptian
Keyword: egyptian food, egyptian koshari, koshari, kushari
Servings: 8 people
Author: The Elegant Economist

Ingredients

For the Fried Onions:

  • ¼ cup neutral oil (for frying) (55g)
  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 1 cup oat milk (or dairy milk if you use it) (240g)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (120g)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed (or 4 tsp toum)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 28 ounces tinned tomato sauce (790g)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Koshari:

  • 1 cup long or medium grain white rice (185g)
  • 1 cup French green or brown lentils (200g)
  • 1 cup macaroni pasta (100g)
  • 15 ounce tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (425g)

Instructions

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • In a saucepan add olive oil and heat over medium until warmed. Add onion, garlic, coriander, and cumin and sautee until fragrant – about 2-3 minutes. Add in your harissa paste and vinegar, then finally the tomato sauce, then add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

For the Fried Onions:

  • Slice onions thin and let sit for 30 minutes. In a large bowl add half the flour. Coat the onions with the flour, then add the remaining flour, salt, and garlic in another bowl. Dip the floured onions in oat milk, then in the flour and garlic salt mixture.
  • Fry in oil one handful at a time until golden and crispy, then set aside.

For the Koshari:

  • Cook each of your grains separately: rice, macaroni, and lentils – using the package instructions. Set aside once cooked.

Assembly:

  • Mix together your cooked rice and drained lentils. Place on a plate. Add your macaroni and chickpeas on top, then top with some of the tomato sauce (serve the rest on the side) and top with your fried onions.
October 17, 2019

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