Koshary, koshari or kushari is one of the traditional Egyptian food. This dish is considered the national dish of Egypt and a very popular street food. Egyptian koshari recipe is one of the easy Egyptian recipes. See more of Egypt famous food.
Egyptian cuisine has a lot of flavorful recipes that evolved as a way to use leftovers. This hearty dish features rice, pasta, lentils… and a lot more. You can think of Koshari as the second cousin of Mujaddara but has much more flavors as it is topped with a spiced tomato sauce and a delicious cumin sauce.
Spicy, delicious, saucy and frugal, the only downside in my opinion, it just needs lots of pans. Although the dish will take sometime to put together, each element is fairly simple to prepare.
Koshari recipe was the first to post in this space on the internet when it was named arabianmama in 2012.
Koshary is my family’s most requested recipes and it shows up frequently on our dinner table. I’ve posted an updated quinoa version of the koshari – later in this blog’ life. But this one is the original Egyptian Koshari and I highly encourage you to try them both.
How to make Egyptian Koshari:
- Put lentils in a colander and wash with running cold water.
- Place lentils in a pot and cover with water 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 25-30 minutes until almost done. Drain.
- In the same pot add oil, chopped onion and suate until fragrant.
- Add semi-cooked lentils, cumin, salt and tomato sauce.
- Cook for 15 minutes on medium or until tender but not mushy. Set aside.
- Prepare short grain rice as directed on the package or in your rice cooker. Traditionally, short grain rice is used. Some people like using Basmati rice or even Jasmine rice, this is ok but not the traditional way to prepare this dish.
- Making Koshari with vermicelli is not traditional but highly recommended. I have a motto that anything is better with vermicelli. So go get some from the store and make it, you’ll never regret it I promise.
- Roast vermicelli in some oil, then gradually add water until it absorbs the water and becomes tender and not clumpy or mushy. This steps depends greatly on the kind of vermicelli you are getting.
- Cook Pasta according to package directions, drain then mix in salt and pepper and oil.
- You should have soaked chickpeas overnight or if you forgot you can soak for an hour in hot water and baking soda.
Koshari sauces: this part is what is going to set your dish apart
- We need to prepare two types of sauces, tomato sauce which is a must and kammuneyah or cumin sauce which is highly recommended but for those serious Koshari eaters.
- To make the tomato sauce: Saute garlic in oil until fragrant, about one minute. Add vinegar, tomato sauce, salt and pepper then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken it a bit.
- To make cumin sauce: again we’ll need to saute garlic and ground cumin in oil until fragrant, add vinegar, water and salt. This sauce will separate as it cools down, you’ll notice that the cumin and garlic will stay at the bottom while water and vinegar rises to top. It is recommended to pour this sauce in a bottle and give it a good shake before using.
- Now we will prepare crispy onion by simply frying onion wedges in oil. Some people like powdering onions with flour or tossing them with salt first. I do not like that, and I come up with very crispy onion slices and you can hear that clear in the video… No salt… No flour. Just take them out on a plate with kitchen paper towel. Please see notes below for the use of the frying oil.
- Cook chickpeas by first draining the soaking water and washing them well then place in a pot, cover with water add some salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 60-90 minutes until it reaches the desired tenderness.
Assemble the dish by just adding and mixing everything together, or make them in a decorative way as shown above. Top with both sauces, cooked chickpeas and may be a sprinkle of cayenne powder🔥.
Some notes about Koshary:
- Some people feel that rice should not be so white in the koshari recipe so they do one of 1) cooking rice using the water from cooking lentils, 2) when lentils is halfway cooked they add it, without its water, to the rice pot and cook both together. Obviously I do neither because my kids do not like much lentils in their koshari and I like everyone to assemble his dish according to his liking.
- Reserve about 1/4 cup of the onion oil , the one in which you’ve fried the onions, and add them to the cooked rice and mix. This gives the rice some shine plus an unbelievably great smell and taste.
- One of my friends does something strange, she soaks some raisins in hot water then drain and serve it alongside the koshari. She is the only person in my life I’ve seen doing so, I tried it once, it is not bad. But I feel that raisins, vinegar and garlic do not quiet match here. So may be dried cranberries will do better if you want to try it.
- Some people like adding onion instead of, or with, garlic in the tomato sauce, I only add garlic. Many people spice up the tomato sauce with cayenne pepper but I do not do that as I have little kiddos at home. Instead I add it on my plate.
- You can use a can of Garbanzo beans instead of cooking the chickpeas yourself, I do not like using the cans but sometimes it is more convenient.
That’s it guys, one of the very best Egyptian vegetarian comfort dishes that you need to try at least once in your life. Amazing flavors and textures, it is a feast in your mouth.
I hope you’ll like this recipe and please if you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #amiraspantry — I love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter!
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- 2 1/2 cups of short grain rice.
- 1 package 16 oz dry Pasta, preferably Ditalini or elbow.
- 2 Tablespoon oil.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
For the Lentils:
- 2 cups dry brown lentils.
- Water to cover lentils.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
- 1 medium onion chopped.
- 1 can 16oz tomato sauce.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
For the Vermicelli :
- 1/2 packet 15.87 oz Vermicelli.
- 3 Tablespoon olive oil or butter.
- 1 cup water.
- Salt to taste.
For the Chickpeas:
- 1 cup dry chickpeas.
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
- Or you can use a can of chickpeas.
For the tomato sauce:
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic crushed.
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil.
- 1/4 cup white vinegar.*
- 2 cans 16oz tomato sauce.
- Salt to taste.
For the Cumin Sauce (Kamouneyah):
- 1 teaspoon garlic crushed.
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
- 1/4 cup water.
- 1/4 cup vinegar.
For the fried onion:
- 3 Large onions sliced.
- Oil for frying.
- If you are using dry chickpeas, soak them in cold water overnight with 1/4 teaspoons baking soda.
- Cook Pasta in enough salty water according to package directions, drain then add 2 Tablespoon of oil and adjust seasoning. Mix everything together and set aside.
- Prepare rice as indicated on your package and set aside.
- Put lentils in a colander and wash thoroughly under running cold water.
- Place lentils in a pot covered with cold water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook for 25-30 minutes until just al dente making sure to check on water level and add water whenever necessary.
- Drain but do not rinse and in the same pot saute onion in oil until fragrant.
- Add lentils back to the pot with tomato sauce and season.
- Continue cooking until done and set aside.
Cook vermicelli :
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add oil and vermicelli cook until vermicelli turns golden brown.
- Add water little by little and stir until you get the desired tenders.
- Season with salt.
- Drain soaked chickpeas and wash well with running water.
- Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with cold water and add a pinch of salt.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and continue cooking 60-90 minutes until the desired tenderness reached.
- Make sure to check on water level and add water whenever necessary.
Make tomato sauce:
- In a medium sauce pan, sauté garlic in oil until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add vinegar, tomato sauce, water and salt then mix well.
Make Cumin sauce:
- In a small sauce pan, sauté garlic and cumin together until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add vinegar, water then taste to adjust salt.
- In a deep pot, add oil to cover the bottom by 1 inch.
- Add onion slices and cook on medium-high stirring every now and then making sure not to burn the onions.
- Take onions out on a plate lined with kitchen paper towel.
- Set aside, it will Harden and get crispier.
- Take 2 Tablespoons of the cooking oil and stir them in the cooked rice. This step is optional but highly recommended as it gives the rice shine and taste.
- You can let everyone take of each of the ingredients as he likes or make what is called tarabeesh (domes) by packing ingredients tightly in a bowl then invert it on plates. Top with onion and sauces.