International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Egyptian kushari shop

(Egyptian pasta, rice and lentils with tomato sauce)

mage Creative Commons by furibond

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


  • Rice -- 1 cup
  • Macaroni pasta -- 1 cup
  • Lentils -- 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


  1. Cook the rice and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until done, about 20 minutes. Cook the macaroni according to package directions, or until al dente. Simmer the lentils and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until tender, 30-45 minutes.
  2. While the rice, pasta and lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and wilted, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and pepper flakes, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, add a little water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy skillet. 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.

Kushari Variations

  • Try other types of pasta: penne, bucatini, ditalini.
  • Kushari is often served with a spoonful of cooked chickpeas on top.
  • Stir in some meat like cooked chunks of schawarma, chicken or lamb.
  • Serve with slices of lemon for individual diners to squeeze over their portions as they like.
  • Add a little ground cumin, cinnamon or baharat spice mix to the simmering tomato sauce if you like.

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