International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Kushari

Egyptian kushari shop

(Egyptian pasta, rice and lentils with tomato sauce)

mage Creative Commons by furibond

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Average: 4.3 (71 votes)

Kushari is a simple yet healthful dish of pasta, rice and lentils widely sold in small Egyptian restaurants and roadside stands. With its full complement of protein, a spicy topping of tomato sauce and crispy fried onions, kushari is often considered the Egyptian national dish. Kushari was originally a poor man's dish, but nowadays it is enjoyed by all strata of society.

Variously spelled koshari, kosheri, koushari or koshary.

4 servings

Ingredients

  • Lentils -- 1 cup
  • Rice -- 1 cup
  • Macaroni pasta -- 1 cup
  • Oil -- 2 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped finely -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes -- 2 cups
  • Pepper flakes -- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Onion, sliced thinly -- 1
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Lemon, cut into wedges -- 1 or 2

Method

  1. Simmer the lentils and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Simmer the rice and 2 cups of water in another covered pot until done, about 20 minutes. Cook the macaroni according to package directions, or until al dente.
  2. While the rice, pasta and lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent and wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and pepper flakes, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to keep the sauce a little loose. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high flame. Add the sliced onions and fry until they turn brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Place the rice, macaroni and lentils in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir together gently with a fork. Portion the mixture into individual bowls and spoon some tomato sauce over each portion. Top with crispy fried onions and serve hot or at room temperature, with wedges of lemon for individual diners to squeeze over their portions as they like.

Kushari Variations

  • Pasta: Try other types of pasta: penne, bucatini, ditalini.
  • Other additions: Kushari is often served with a spoonful of cooked chickpeas on top. You can also stir in some cooked meat, chunks of schawarma, chicken or lamb. Add a little ground cumin, cinnamon or baharat spice mix to the simmering tomato sauce if you like.
  • Onion topping: If you like, you can substitute French fried onions from a can, or use packaged fried onions found at some Asian or Mediterranean markets

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