Cooking Method:boiling & frying
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:45 mins
Koshari is my favourite Egyptian food. It’s made up of a few components which may seem a little daunting the first time you make it - but fear not, it’s surprisingly easy and totally worth it. Once you’ve made koshari, you’ll want to make it again and again; it’s that delicious.
In Cairo the tomato sauce is fiery with chilli heat, the green lentils zing with fresh lime, some vendors offer chickpeas too but my favourite stall doesn’t. The pasta and rice mix transform it into the ultimate comfort food and to top it all, there are crispy crunchy fried onions.
- TOMATO SAUCE:
- 2 tsp oil (I use olive oil)
- 2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 4 chillies chopped (I use cayenne or Egyptian chillies)
- 2 red onion diced small
- 2 Tbs muscovado sugar (heaped)
- 4 C passata
- 2 Tbs oil (I use olive oil)
- 2 C broken up spaghetti (I use gluten-free)
- 2 C rice rinsed (I use brown rice)
- 5 C boiling water
- 2 tsp oil (I use olive oil)
- 2 Tbs cumin seeds
- 2 C green lentils (I used drained and rinsed green lentils from a tin)
- 2 limes (juice)
- CRISPY ONIONS:
- ½ C oil (I use coconut or sunflower)
- 6 white onions diced/sliced thinly
- salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- (or you can cheat and buy them from your local Chinese food store - but check the ingredients if you are gluten-free as many add wheat)
Get the tomato sauce started by adding your oil to a thick based saucepan on a medium heat. Once the oil has heated up stir in the ground spices, chopped garlic and chillies, turn the heat down and add the onion and muscovado sugar. Pop the lid on the pan and let the onions slowly cook until they are soft and shiny. (About 5 minutes)
When the onions have reached that lovely soft stage stir in the passata, replace the lid and leave to simmer while you make the other elements of the koshari. You will need to stir the sauce occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn.
In a new heavy based saucepan add the oil and place on a medium heat. Once the oil has heated up add the broken pasta, fry it until it starts to thicken and whiten (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the rinsed rice and boil the kettle! Allow the rice to fry for 4 minutes and then add the boiling water - be careful it will spit!
Pop the lid on the pan and turn the heat right down. Cook until all the water has been absorbed, (about 20 minutes).
If you’re making your own crispy onions get a frying pan on a high heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot stir in your finely diced or sliced onion and fry quickly, stirring constantly until they start to brown. Once they start to brown remove from the heat, sieve them out of the oil and place on kitchen paper, to absorb excess oil, then pop them in a bowl and find some salt over them.
Now your sauce and carbs should be pretty much ready. When the rice and pasta have 5 minutes left to cook, get a new saucepan to cook the lentil elements. Add the oil and cumin seeds, allow them to heat up and toast.
When the seeds are toasted add the drained and rinsed green lentils to the frying pan and the juice of the limes.
As soon as the lentil are warmed through (takes 4 minutes) it’s time to turn off all the heat and serve up your delights.
Let each person serve themselves with as much or as little of each of the elements they want. Starting with the carbs, then lentils, ladle a load of tomato sauce over the top then sprinkle as much or as little of the fried onions over the top.
This meal is a perfect way to end a summers day, it's really sociable with everyone helping themselves. You can make it as spicy and zingy as you like or really mellow if you prefer.
COOKING TIMES - the whole shebang takes 45 minutes - here's how it breaks down.
Tomato sauce: 45 minutes
Rice & pasta: 30 minutes
Fried onions: 10 minutes
Lentils: 5 minutes