by Maggie Taher
Before writing this, I had lived under the impression that Koshary was a meal for the Egyptian laborers who simply got bored of the food they had. In essence, while colorful, Koshary looks like some leftover meals mixed together. That’s at least how I described it to everyone who was trying it for the first time. A mixture of rice, macaroni, lentils, roasted or fried onions, chickpeas, and most importantly, a healthy—or unhealthy—amount of spice and tomato sauce.
It turns out that Koshary is even more ancient than I had anticipated, first appearing in the Egyptian Book of Genesis, the term “Koshir” means “food of the rites of Gods”. Koshir was a breakfast dish that consisted of lentils, wheat, chickpeas, garlic, and onion all cooked together in clay pots.
Maggie—who sometimes cooks—takes on Koshary with a twist of her own. Dive into the wondrous Egyptian food culture with one of the most famous vegetarian dishes.
For the koshary
Pasta (spaghetti and rings)
Oil from the fried onions (“onion oil”)
Vegetable stock (optional)
For the fried onions
Red onions cut into thin slices
For the tomato sauce
For the dakka
For the chili sauce
A spoon of dakka
A spoonful of tomato sauce
In a frying pan fry onions until golden brown and set aside. Keep the oil.
In another pan add a couple of spoons of onion oil. Fry the vermicelli until golden then add the washed rice and fry for a minute. Add soaked lentils and a cup of boiled water, cumin and vegetable stock. Cover and cook on low heat.
Cook your pasta, wash and drizzle it with oil to avoid sticking.
In a pan add onion oil, a generous amount of minced garlic, tomato sauce and juice, cumin, dried coriander, salt and sugar. Let it boil on low heat until it thickens.
In a bowl add warm water, minced garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin and coriander.
In a pan add onion oil, chili, and paprika. Once it bubbles, add a big spoon of dakka and a big spoon of tomato sauce.
Assemble your dish and top it with chickpeas.