This hearty vegan national dish “Koshary” is a perfect combination of flavors and textures. It made with a base of rice, lentils, and pasta, topped with a spiced tomato sauce, and crispy fried onions. The dish is usually served with a side of tangy garlic vinegar sauce. With its rich history and delicious taste, Koshari is a must-try! Check below step by step on how to make this delicious dish.
Koshary is a popular Egyptian street food that has become a beloved dish worldwide.
My husband and his friends call it a carb bomb 😂, and it kind of is, but in a very wholesome and hearty way that is rarely matched by other national dishes. It was one of our top sellers in the restaurant for both vegans and meat lovers alike. And it’s definitely going to be one of your favorites once you try it.
Table of contents
- Reasons to Love Koshari
- What is Koshari?
- Egyptian Koshari Recipe Ingredients:
- Possible Ingredient Substitutes
- Step by Step on how to make Egyptian Koshari recipe
- How to make the Koshari Sauces?
- How to Assemble Egyptian Koshari?
- Important Tips:
- What to serve with Egyptian Koshari Recipe?
- More Egyptian Recipes
Reasons to Love Koshari
1- Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a healthy and cost-effective meal.
2- The combination of rice, lentils, and pasta provides a complete protein source, making it a great option for vegans and vegetarians.
3- Plus, it’s an affordable and easy way to use pantry staples and leftovers.
What is Koshari?
Koshari also spelled kushari or koshary (1), is a traditional Egyptian dish that has become a popular street food in Egypt and beyond. It is a hearty, vegan meal consisting of rice, lentils, macaroni, and a tangy tomato sauce topped with crispy onions. The dish is known for its unique blend of flavors and textures, offering a satisfying and nutritious meal.
The history of koshary dates back to the mid-19th century in Egypt. The dish originated in Cairo due to the cultural exchange and culinary influences brought about by British colonization and the opening of the Suez Canal, which allowed for increased trade and exposure to foreign cuisines, mainly Italian.
This dish is believed to have been inspired by an Indian dish called “khichdi,” which is a mixture of rice and lentils. When koshari was introduced to Egypt, local cooks adapted it by adding pasta, likely influenced by Italian cuisine. Over time, the dish evolved further with the addition of a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions as toppings.
It became a staple street food enjoyed by people from all walks of life, regardless of their social status. Today, koshari is served not only on the streets of Egypt but also in restaurants and homes worldwide. Its popularity has grown due to its delicious taste, nutritional value, and the fact that it caters to vegan and vegetarian diets.
Egyptian Koshari Recipe Ingredients:
- Onions – I prefer using red onion in koshary as it has a stronger taste, but you can use yellow onion instead.
- Oil – Any neutral oil, such as canola, vegetable, or olive oil, to fry the onions. (NOTE: save this oil to use in cooking the koshari.)
- Flour – for coating the onions and getting crispy fried onions.
- Rice – Egyptian rice (also known as short grain rice) is the best option but medium or long grain rice also works.
- Lentils – I recommend using brown lentils or black lentils.
- Vermicelli – adds a nice appeal and color to the rice, also, a little flavor.
- Pasta – In the traditional Egyptian recipe, they combine spaghetti and elbow macaroni. However, you can use one type of any short pasta like ditalini, penne, fusilli, or farfalle.
- Garlic cloves – add a great flavor to the tomato sauce and garlic vinegary sauce.
- Crushed Tomatoes – I used a can of crushed tomatoes, but you can substitute it with crushed fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, or tomato paste.
- White vinegar – It is important to use distilled white vinegar in this recipe, as any other type of vinegar will change the taste.
- Spices – ground cumin and coriander give the dish an earthy flavor.
- Sugar – to offset the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Salt and black pepper to taste.
- Chickpeas – I recommend using a can of chickpeas as it saves a lot of time.
- Lemon juice – freshly squeezed lemon juice helps balance out the garlic vinegary sauce flavors.
- Crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper (optional) – for making the hot sauce.
Possible Ingredient Substitutes
- Black or green lentils are a good alternatives if you could’t find brown lentils.
- You can also use fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, or tomato paste.
- Instead of white rice, you can use jasmine rice, basmati rice, or brown rice as a healthier option.
- Also, you can substitute the pasta with whole wheat pasta or any short pasta.
Step by Step on how to make Egyptian Koshari recipe
- Make the crispy onions. First, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Slice the onions into thin slices using a knife or a slicer attachment on a food processor, and toss them with flour in a large bowl. Shake off the excess flour and fry them in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet, until they turn golden brown. Place them on a paper towel-lined plate, and save the oil; do not discard it.
2- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the 2 types of pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss it with a tablespoon of the fried onions oil. Set aside.
3- Cook the lentils. Bring salted water with a teaspoon of ground cumin to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed lentils, reduce the heat to low, and cook until lentils are just tender. Do not drain the water; we will add it to the rice. (Note: the lentils should not be fully cooked, as they need to finish cooking with the rice).
4- Cook the lentil rice. Heat the fried onions’ oil over medium heat, then toast the vermicelli until golden brown. Add the drained rice and salt, then stir until the rice is evenly coated with oil and toasted. Pour the par-cooked lentils with its water into the rice, cover it with warm water and adjust the salt to taste. Stir and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice and lentils are cooked through. Turn off the heat and leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Fluff it using a fork.
How to make the Koshari Sauces?
1- Vinegar tomato sauce. Heat a tablespoon of fried onion oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes until golden and fragrant. Then add white vinegar, crushed tomatoes, water, salt, black pepper, ground cumin, coriander, and sugar. Cover and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes; turn the heat off.
2- Spicy tomato sauce (Shatta). Place 1/2 cup of the vinegar tomato sauce into a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of water, crushed chili flakes and cayenne pepper, and boil over low heat.
3-Garlic vinegary sauce (Dakka). Add a 1/2 cup of water, ground cumin, coriander, salt, minced garlic, lemon juice, white vinegar, and a pinch of chili powder in a small bowl.
How to Assemble Egyptian Koshari?
There are many ways to serve this Egypt’s national dish; here’s how I like to assemble it.
- First, layer the cooked rice with lentils in a large serving dish or individual bowls and top it with the pasta.
- Then, pour the tomato sauce over the top.
- Finally, garnish the dish with the crispy fried onions and chickpeas. Serve the spicy sauce and the vinegary sauce on the side.
Serve your koshary hot and enjoy this delicious and hearty Egyptian dish!
- Do not discard the oil used in frying the onion; you will use it in the recipe. This tip is essential to get the most flavorful koshari.
- Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet while frying the onions.
- Adjust the salt to taste.
What to serve with Egyptian Koshari Recipe?
Usually, koshari is a meal by itself as it contains protein and carbs.
But Here are some variations for koshary that you can experiment with:
- Add roasted vegetables like eggplant and zucchini or meat like chicken or beef to the koshari for extra flavor and nutrition.
- Top the koshari with chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for a burst of freshness.
- Serve the koshari with a side of salad or pickled vegetables for extra crunch.
Store the Egyptian koshary leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
More Egyptian Recipes
|⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you tried this Egyptian Koshari recipe or any other recipe on Eat Enjoy by Raneem, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe.