Koshari (also spelled Koshary or Kushari) is the national dish of Egypt. Egyptian koshari is served in virtually every Egyptian restaurant, in every Egyptian home, and on every Egyptian street corner. Street vendors serve the dish from carts to people eagerly waiting in line to eat this beloved and highly popular dish. An unusual combination, Koshari mixes lentils, macaroni noodles and rice into a single dish and it’s then topped with a spicy tomato sauce that uses a special Middle Eastern spice blend, garbanzo beans, and fried onions. The idea sounds strange…until you taste it. Then you’ll know why this dish is a favorite among Egyptians. The crowning aspect of Egyptian koshari is the flavor-packed, spicy tomato sauce. It’s made with a special spice blend called Baharat (Arabic for “spice”), an all-purpose spice blend commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Just a pinch adds depth and flavor to sauces, soups, stews and meat.
3/4 cup brown lentils
4 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the lentils and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes. Add the rice to the lentils, and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Fill a separate saucepan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is lightly browned. Pour in the tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 10 to 20 minutes. In a large serving dish, stir together the lentils, rice and macaroni. Mix in the tomato sauce until evenly coated, then serve your Egyptian koshari.