Koshari is a common everyday meal in Egyptian that I assume got it's inspiration from leftovers. Why else would one mix pasta, rice, lentils, and chickpeas all in one dish?
The quickest way to make this meal is to have all the ingredients cooked and just mix them together in a basic tomato sauce seasoned with Harissa. Harissa is an common Middle Eastern spice mix that is not the standard seasoning for Koshari, but I found that it contained most of what is used in the dish.
It was easier to pour one spice into the sauce than have to measure a bunch of different spices. For a non-Egyptian I'm guessing that the flavor is close enough.
The other liberties I took with the traditional way of making Koshari are using red wine vinegar instead of plain vinegar because it is more flavorful, and skipping the chickpeas because one bean was enough for me. I did put a little bit of rice in the lentil tomato mixture, but truly pasta or rice is really all you need.
The end result was a delicious comfort food. My family loved this dish. The elbow macaroni made it super appealing to the kids, and I really enjoyed the carmalized onions. This will become a regular meal on our menu rotation.
Simple Egyptian Koshari
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (6 to 8 servings)
- 2 large onions
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup of dried brown lentils
- 1 pound of elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup of cooked rice
- 1/4 cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 cloves of garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons of powdered Harissa
- 1 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 28 ounces of diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
1) In a large sauce pan bring salted water to boil for pasta. Cook lentils 1 cup dried lentils to 2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Set aside.
2) While the pasta water is boiling melt the butter in a 10-12 inch non-stick skillet. Put the onions in the pan, salt and cover. Stir occasionally. Keep the burner on medium low for about 10 minutes, or until the onions start to soften if they begin to brown lower the heat. Remove cover and stir occasionally until onions brown. Set aside.
3) In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium. Cook garlic and harissa for about 1 minute. Add vinegar and turn up heat to medium high. Cook for about 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and bring them to a boil. Cook until tomatoes begin to brown about 3 minutes.
4) Add lentils and rice to tomato sauce. Serve over pasta that has been tossed with a little bit of olive oil. Top with the carmelized onions.
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Join us next month July 12th when we cook a recipe from Laos.
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