The national dish of Egypt: Koshari

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One could imagine that a national dish of a middle eastern country like Egypt would include some kind of meat like lamb, beef or chicken. However, the Egyptian national dish is a vegetarian dish, it is called Koshari. Koshari is loved by all Egyptians and affordable by everyone. It is basically rice and lentils with some tomato sauce. That sounds simple, right? Take a look at this busy stove top with some of the components to put that dish together in the right way.

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You will go through the preparation of the following components below. They are many but worth the effort unless you live in Egypt then you must be kidding me if you make this at home! You can get the best street Koshari  from Koshari el Tahrir or many others.

  • Lentils
  • Rice
  • Macaroni
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chickpeas
  • Fried onions
  • Dakka (optional if you are still a koshari beginner) so I did not include it here but basically it is a mix of some oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic, vinegar, water, salt and pepper

Ingredients

1 cup of calrose rice
1 cup of black or green lentils
1/2 cup small macaroni
2 diced onions
10 cloves of garlic crushed/minced
5-6 cups of water
3 tomatoes
1 tomato paste can
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon olive oil

Before you start, the key here is to be organized. So, I have a kind of 2 tips for preparing this dish:

  • get all the components you need on a table close to you before you start.
  • Go in sequence, one thing at a time before you start multitasking. Multitasking happens while the rice and lentils are being cooked.

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Rice and Lentils Preparation
1. Soak the lentil in lukewarm water for 30 minutes after washing it.
2. Wash the rice and drain it.
3. Dice the 2 onions.
4. Mince the garlic.
6. In a hot pot, put the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, throw in the diced onions and stir until golden color. (Do not burn them or you might get a bitter taste)
7. Remove the onions from the oil and put them on a paper towel
8. Add the lentils to the oil
9. Add 4 cups of water then add the tablespoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic, salt and pepper then bring the lentils to boil. When boiled put the heat to low and simmer it down for 25-30 mins.
10. When the lentils are almost tender, add the washed and drained rice to the lentils
11. Add more water if needed at this point to cover the rice and lentil with about 1/2 inch
12. Simmer until the rice is cooked on low heat
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Macaroni Preparation
13. Cook the macaroni in a separate pot. Rinse and strain when done.

  • Bring lightly salted water to boil, add the macaroni, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When done rinse and strain.

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14. Mix the tomatoes in the mixer.
15. In a hot pot, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the minced garlic or more if you like.
16. When the garlic has the golden color, add  1 tablespoon of vinegar and stir it couple of times.
17. Add the tomato mix and the tomato paste can in the pot.
18. Stir for a little bit until the tomato paste is dissolved then add 2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
19. Add, salt and pepper and little cumin (like 1/4 teaspoon)

  • You can add the chili flakes if you want it spicy

20. Simmer the tomato sauce on low heat

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Chickpeas Preparation
21. Get the ready cooked chickpeas can.
22. Wash and drain it.
23. Add salt, pepper, little bit cumin, 1 lime juice, little bit of minced garlic, if all used get 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder.
24. set aside.
Putting them together
25. When rice and lentils are done:

  • Put some of the lentil and rice mix on each plate
  • Top with the macaroni
  • Top with tomato sauce.
  • Top with the fried onions
  • Top with some chickpeas

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2 responses to “The national dish of Egypt: Koshari

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