While traveling in Egypt, there was one dish I couldn’t wait to try koshari (koshary, kushari). Often known as Egypt in a bowl, it’s a popular dish made up of pasta, lentils, chickpeas, and tomato sauce. There are many restaurants dedicated to producing bowl after bowl of it, and somewhere near the Great Pyramids we found the perfect place to enjoy it. As soon as I came home, I found myself craving it, so I looked up a recipe for koshari and got cooking!
While, I’ll admit mine wasn’t quite as good, it still took me back to that hot day in Giza after exploring the pyramids. Koshari is a hearty meal that will make any stomach happy!
Last August, I spent three days in Cairo and Luxor uncovering history and gaining an understanding of the culture through food and discussions with locals. It was a quick trip, but I was able to see all the historic sites, plus leave room for a sunset cruise on the Nile. Creating this dish, one of my first meals in Egypt, was the perfect way to remember my time there.
Once returning home, I set out to make my own koshari, and a few months ago, I did it. While it was very involved, and created another large mess as several pots and pans are needed, it was well-worth the time and effort. This recipe immediately brought back the memories of my time in Egypt.
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1 (400 g) can chopped tomatoes
crushed red chili pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, to taste
Can of fried ones (optional)
1. In salted water, cook the lentils and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or follow directions on the bag.
2. Cook the rice in a separate pot, or in a rice cooker, if you have one.
3. In a separate pot, cook the ditalini. Rise and strain when done.
4. Fry the onions and garlic in oil until golden in color. Then, add the tomatoes, along with chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
5. Let the sauce bubble until thickened.
6. Mix the lentils, rice, chickpeas, and pasta together in a pot.
7. Then place on each plate and top with tomato sauce and fried onions.
Drink: Egyptian mint tea
I made sure to have Egyptian mint tea every day while in Egypt, and it was one of my favorite drinks while I was there. Brew yourself a cup to enjoy with your meal!
While driving around Egypt, my guide, Mohamed, played a cd that he wound up giving to us as a present when I left. It’s called Oud Bazaar, and there are several volumes of them. It’s traditional music, mainly instrumental, and for me it completely brought Egypt to life and will forever remind me of my time there.
Pin for this later!