The first time I tried Koshari (a vegetarian dish) was during a visit to Egypt. It was a lunch staple on our river boat as we cruised down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan.
This is our small river boat. The larger, more luxurious boats dwarfed ours, but our smaller size meant we passed through the locks first.
The Nile river brings life to the area. The grass is a vivid green and the crops thrive in the soil with plentiful water, but once away from the river, it’s very dry.
Here is the recipe for Koshari.
1 cup basmati rice
50 ml olive oil
2 1/4 cups of vegetable stock – water is okay if you don’t have stock
250 grams brown lentils
100 grams small macaroni
20 gram butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
Baharat Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
2 1/2 teaspoons baharat
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
400 grams canned cherry tomatoes
200 grams canned chopped tomatoes
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
You can buy this online or from specialty stores. I made mine since I had all the available spices in the cupboard.
2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
To make the sauce:
1. Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender.
2. Stir in the baharat spice and chilli
3. Add the tomatoes and season to taste. Simmer until thickened. Stir in the vinegar and keep warm.
To make the base:
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan, add rice and stir to coat. Season to taste, then add the stock. Cover with lid and cook on a low heat until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed.
2. Cook the lentils until almost tender, then add the macaroni. Stir until the pasta is al dente. Drain and combined with the cooked rice.
3. Heat the butter and cook the onion until golden brown and crispy.
4. To serve, divide the rice mixture into bowls and spoon over the tomato sauce. Garnish with the crispy onion.
1. We added spinach leaves to our tomato sauce. We also had some kidney beans in the fridge, so we added those as well.
2. We didn’t have cherry tomatoes. I used a 800 gram can of chopped tomatoes.
3. I think I’d garnish with parsley or fresh coriander in the future, rather than the onion.
Verdict: Delicious! I will definitely make this dish again.