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How to Make the Best Egyptian Vegetarian Dish: Koshari

Koshari is a traditional dish from Egypt, one that tastes so good that you can’t stop eating until nothing is left. The dish has many parts, all of which are pretty simple but combine together for complete deliciousness: Rice/lentil (referred to as koshari), spicy tomato sauce, macaroni, garbanzo beans and fried onion.

(This recipe is taken from mikesenese.com/DOIT, he helped me and my mom film and transcribe her amazing dish. Thanks Mike and Mom!)

Here is the recipe to make the best tasting koshari (of course, I’m biased, it’s my mom). I’ve based the approximate measurements off of the video of my mom (Magda) demonstrating how to cook the dish.


1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup corn oil
1lb lentil beans
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tablespoon plain tomato sauce
1 glove of garlic, crushed

(2) 16oz cans  of tomato sauce (video says 6oz – was meant to say 16oz)
1 tablespoon corn oil
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinammon
2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 green chili pepper or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1lb macaroni, small size (elbows)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Garbanzos (topping):
1 can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

– Begin by soaking the lentils and rice in water for about 30 minutes (separately). You don’t want the lentils to get too soft, so don’t over-soak them.
– Chop the onion coarsely – about 1/2″ squares. Put in large stock pot, add corn oil so the onion is covered. For one onion, this was about 1/2 cup.
– Heat on medium-high, stirring regularly. Cook until darkish brown, about 15-20 minutes. Watch closely as the onion goes from dark brown to burnt very quickly.
– When finished, remove onion from stock pot with slotted or perforated spoon. Place onion on paper towel to drain. Keep oil in pot.
– Add one clove crushed garlic to the oil.
– Stir in four cups of water and one tablespoon of tomato sauce.
– Add lentils when the water begins to boil, cover and cook until lentils start to soften (about 20 minutes).
– Once lentils soften a touch, stir in rice, cover, and continue to heat.
– Finished once water is soaked up and the lentil/rice mixture is soft and fluffy.
– Crush five cloves of garlic, put into saucepan with a tablespoon of corn oil.
– Heat on stove, medium-high.
– Add 1 to two tablespoons of white vinegar and two 16oz cans of plain tomato sauce.
– Thin sauce with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water.
– Pinch of salt, pepper and cinnamon to the sauce.
– Chop a green pepper and add to the sauce, or use red chili flakes
– Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

– Boil water in large pain
– Add one pound small macaroni shape. Elbows work well.
– Cook slightly longer than the directions call for – you want the pasta to be soft.

– Drain and rinse a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
– Mix in salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder
– Sprinkle with lemon juice

Prepare by making a bed of the rice and lentils, add macaroni on top, coat with sauce (the sauce is my favorite part – that vinegar/cinnamon addition makes it so tangy-good), top with garbanzos and fried onions. Serve with a nice cucumber and tomato side salad.

Serves about six.

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