Pure Egyptian comfort food of delicious rice mixed with earthy lentils and small bite size pasta, served with an aromatic lightly spiced tomato vinegar sauce and completed with crispy caramelized fried onions. There is a reason why this is Egypt’s national dish, its hearty healthy food at its best.
When looking for hearty comforting food, this dish is on the top of my list. I mean how can you beat all of this delicious carb overload. It’s a beloved Egyptian classic and one of the most popular street foods found there, as its cheap but healthy and oh so addictively delicious.
It’s amazing how much flavour each bite packs. The rice is beautifully rich with ghee (or oil for a vegan option) and earthy with the little nutty lentil jewels. It may seem odd to add pasta to the rice, but it gives a delicious bite and added texture and is perfect to soak up the sauce. Now this sauce is what brings the Koshari alive. Its beautifully sharp with the vinegar yet slightly sweet and is delicately spiced with aromatic cumin with just a hint of chilli.
You don’t just drizzle this sauce on top, you pour it over, I love to drench my koshari in it and then to complete this incredible flavour and texture explosion you have the most deliciously crisp, almost sweet caramelized fried onion on top which just take this to another level. Again, you don’t just lightly scatter the onions, but heap it on top. Trust me a bowl of this and you will be lost in its delicious comforting yumminess.
Egyptian Rice with Lentils, Pasta & A Spiced Tomato Sauce (Koshari)
Pure Egyptian comfort food composed of delicious rice mixed with earthy lentils and small bite size pasta, served with an aromatic lightly spiced tomato vinegar sauce and completed with crispy caramelized fried onions. There is a reason why this is Egypt’s national dish, its hearty healthy food at its best.
- 1 cup (200g) brown lentils, washed thoroughly
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- ½ chicken or vegetable stock cube
- ¼ cup (60ml) ghee (or oil)
- 2 large onions, cut into thin slices
- 2 tbsp garlic, finely crushed
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 2 cups (400g) short or medium grain rice, washed and soaked in water for at least 1 hour
- 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 2 ½ (625ml)cups water
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely crushed
- ½ chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 large tomatoes, blended till smooth
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp crushed black pepper
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ¼ - ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ¾ cup (150g) small pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
- 2 large brown onions, cut into thin slices and shallow fried till golden and brown
- Step 1 Make the lentils: Bring the water to boil, stir in the stock cube. Add the lentils to the boiling water and cook on medium high till the lentils are just nearly cooked (10 – 12 minutes). Lentils will still have a slight bite as they will need a little more cooking. Drain and set aside.
- Step 2 Make the rice: In a large pan heat the ghee or oil and add the finely sliced onions. Fry on medium until golden brown.
- Step 3 Add the garlic and cook until the raw smell has gone.
- Step 4 Stir in the cumin and coriander powder and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
- Step 5 Add the drained rice and stir to fully coat each grain. Pour in 2 ½ cups water and add the stock cube. Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until the rice has nearly absorbed all the water (approximately 15 minutes).
- Step 6 Add the nearly cooked lentils to the rice and reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for further 5 – 8 minutes until all the moisture is completely absorbed and rice and lentils are fully cooked.
- Step 7 Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic. Cook till it starts to catch some colour.
- Step 8 Crush the stock cube into the pan.
- Step 9 Add the tomato puree and blended tomatoes. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Step 10 Add the vinegar, black pepper, sugar, cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Mix thoroughly and leave to cook on low heat for 10 – 12 minutes, until the oil starts to separate slightly. (I do not add salt as the stock cubes tend to be salty, but taste and add should you need it).
- Step 11 To serve: On top of the rice and lentil mixture add the cooked pasta and top with the fried onions. Pour as much sauce as you like on top.
- Step 12 Enjoy x