Kushari

Kushari (also called Koshary/Koshari) is an Egyptian dish (apparently from the 19th Century). It was introduced to our family last year by a good friend (he discovered the dish while travelling in Egypt and told us that one finds it in almost every Egyptian restaurant, cafe and pavement stall).

The combination sounded really strange at first, but we were intrigued and soon googled recipes so that we too could experience the dish. We stumbled across a recipe on The Daring Gourmet and have been making this recipe (with a few adaptions/changes) ever since.

The long list of ingredients may seem daunting, but (besides the number of pots to wash up afterwards) it is actually a very simple dish to make! It is also a great way to use up leftover lentils, rice and pasta.

I am not a fan of the pasta addition (which was apparently included later on by Italians) and usually leave it out when dishing up, but my family enjoy the dish as is.

The spicy tomato sauce and homemade baharat spice mix really make it, and we have often doubled the sauce to ensure that there is plenty to go around. This dish is really filling and will definitely satisfy a hungry family! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 😀

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Kushari

Adapted from: The Daring Gourmet

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • ± 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup small macaroni/pasta (cooked according to instructions on packet – can use gluten-free)
  • 1 tin chickpeas

Crispy Onion Garnish:

  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 1 TBS coconut/olive oil

Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp coconut/olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 400g tin  chopped tomatoes/tomato puree
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • optional: ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 2 tsp baharat spice blend (bought from store eg: Woolworths, or homemade – see recipe below)

Method:

  1. Cook basmati rice in vegetable stock (as per instructions on packet)
  2. Place 2 cups of water in a pot and add rinsed lentils, cumin, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer until cooked (about 20min – add salt near the end). Strain any excess water and remove bay leaf and garlic
  3. Cook macaroni/pasta as per instructions on packet
  4. Pan fry sliced onions in coconut/olive oil until browned/crispy
  5. For the tomato sauce, sauté the garlic and onion in oil. Add the tinned tomato, vinegar, baharat spice and chilli flakes (if using) and simmer gently until thickened.
  6. To assemble the dish, either mix the warm cooked lentils, rice and macaroni together in a large bowl before serving, or layer separately into individual bowls. Top with a generous amount of spicy tomato sauce, then add the chickpeas and garnish with crispy onions. Sprinkle extra baharat spice on top if desired.

Homemade baharat spice blend

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1½ tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method:

  1. In a hot pan, dry fry the first 5 ingredients for a few minutes until fragrant (stirring frequently to prevent burning)
  2. Once cooled, grind these together with the last 3 ingredients in a mill/coffee grinder
  3. Store in a glass jar and keep for your next batch of kushari 😉

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