Koshari recipe

The Authentic Way to Make Egyptian Koshari

Koshari, also Koshary is the national dish of Egypt. I have made lots of drafts for the Koshari recipe with lots of images taken along the last year whenever I made Koshari at home. To bring it to you in the best way possible. 

For us, this is not just a dish to make from carbs leftovers. I don’t recall any Egyptian I know made it this way. Even if originally, this is how Koshari was created in the mid-19th century. It is a bowl of comfort. A celebration of traditions and culture. A takeout to enjoy with your besties, and a million flavors and texture to pick on each bite. Did I mention that it’s vegan?

Since koshari is the national dish of Egypt, you can find koshari stores and carts on every corner of Cairo. But the real deal is not the street koshari. It’s every traditional recipe that mothers can do at home. We as Egyptians part in two groups. Group A, who can’t live without street Koshari. And Group B, who doesn’t want to remember such taste because they got used to the home recipe and everything else can’t be at the same level. I’m from the latter group. Some of our family members were in group A, AKA my dad, but since he tasted my mom’s recipe, he never stepped a foot into a Koshari store ever again (a stable story we tell in our family). So if you’re a street Koshari lover, you may change your mind after this post. 

Egyptian Koshari trivia time

What is Koshari?

Koshari is a comforting bowl of some of the best, most nourishing ingredients in your pantry. Lentil rice, combined with two to three different types of pasta– one of them must be spaghetti broken up into smaller pieces, for more textured and fun plate– smothered in a special tomato sauce, a vinegary sauce that tastes so good. Topped with chickpeas, brown lentil, vermicelli (sometimes), and crispy thin fried onion rings.

What to serve with Koshari?

Oh, this needs a whole other article. Koshari is served with two different kinds of Dakka– Egyptian sauces that give the Koshari its unique taste. One is on the lemony side, and the other on the spicy side. And of course some additional tomato sauce and fried onion rings. No, you don’t serve chicken or meat or anything else with this dish. It’s fulfilling the way it is an22d doesn’t need a companion. 

What to eat after Koshari?

An oriental dessert is a staple after Koshari. Especially Egyptian rice pudding with a scope of ice cream served on top of it. It just balances the zesty vinegary feeling you get after eating koshari, and kind of works like Digestive Enzymes. It’s a heavy meal, but you’ll feel nothing but satisfaction after completing the course.

How to layer Koshari?

Bring 4-6 plates to serve. It’s better to serve Koshari in individual plates to keep its look for each person to dig in solely. 
As shown, put a big spoon of lentil rice on a plate. Top with pasta mixture, add more rice that will act as bedding to the sauce and toppings. Add the vermicelli (if you made it), a big spoon of tomato sauce, then the lentils, top it with crispy onions, and finally some chickpeas, and serve. 

My mom secret steps for the best Koshari recipe

I’m about to give you the trick of all tricks to make the best Koshari recipe. My mom always reminds me of this step, saying it’s the core of a great bowl of Koshari.

My mom’s first step in making Koshari is frying the onion in a large skillet with lots of vegetables cooking oil. After she takes the onion out, she strains the oils from the small crisps of the onion and uses this oil in all the other recipe steps. That way, the Koshari will have an oniony flavor that makes all the difference and combine all the layers indescribably. 

Ditto the previous technique with the lentil water. She cooks the lentil first to use the lentil cooking water in preparing the rice. And that’s ladies and gents, is great cooking skills.

Koshari recipe

Egyptian Koshari Recipe

Leave a Review Print Recipe
Course Main Course
Cuisine Egyptian
Diet Vegan
Keyword Authentic Koshari recipe, Easy Koshari recipe, Egyptian Koshari Recipe, Koshari, Koshari Egyptian, Koshari Recipe, Koshary, Koshary recipe, Pantry recipes, Vegan Recipes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes
A celebration of traditions and culture. A takeout to enjoy with your besties, and a million flavors and texture to pick on each bite. Did I mention that it's vegan?

Ingredients

For the Crispy Onion Topping

  • 1 large onion , sliced into thin rings or half-moon shape
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cooking oil*

For Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil, *the onion oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400 g (15 oz) can tomato sauce, puree
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

For Koshari 

  • ½ 1 cup brown lentils, picked over and well-rinsed
  • ½ 1 cup medium-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar

Instructions

  • The crispy onion topping
  • Sprinkle the onion rings with salt, toss them in the flour to coat. Shake off excess flour.
  • Koshari recipe
    In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat, cook the onion rings. Stir often, until they turn caramelized brown and crispy, 15-20 minutes. 
  • Remove to a paper towel to drain. Season with cumin, salt, and serve.
  • Strain the cooking oil and leave it to use in all the other steps that require oil. We will call it onion oil.

The tomato sauce

  • In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp onion oil. Add the garlic, and saute until it reaches a golden yellow color (30-45 seconds).
  • Stir in tomato sauce, cumin, and a pinch of salt. Bring to simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Stir in the white vinegar, and chilli powder (optional). Turn the heat to low. Cover and keep warm.

The Koshari

  • Koshari recipe
    Cook the lentils. Bring lentils and 5 cups of salted water to a boil in a medium pot or saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook until lentils are just tender (15 minutes). Drain from water. 
  • Now before fully cook the lentils, take half of the portion in the pan and leave it aside as they need to finish cooking with the rice. Continue cooking the rest of the lintels (15-20 minutes more). Drain the lentil, and keep warm.
    Note: Don't throw the lentil cooking water as we will use it to prepare the rice. 
  • Cook the rice. While the lentils are cooking, make the rice and pasta. Combine the par-cooked lentils, and the washed rice in the saucepan over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp onion oil, salt, pepper, cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the lentil water to cover the rice and lentil mixture by about 1 1/2 inches (about 3 cups of water). Bring to a boil; the water should reduce a bit. Cover, bring the heat to low and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the lentil rice is well cooked (about 20 minutes). Keep covered and warm.
  • Koshari recipe
    Fluff the lentil rice with a fork. Add some of the onion to it and stir gently. Keep covered and warm.
  • Koshari recipe
    Now prepare the pasta. Add the elbow and spaghetti pasta to boiling water (together) with a pinch of salt and some onion oil (2-3tbsp).
  • Cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and toss the pasta in more onion oil (3 tbsp). 
  • (optional) Cook the vermicelli. Bring 2 cups of salted boiling water. Add the vermicelli, and let it cook for 7-10 minutes. Drain and toss in 1tbsp of onion oil.
  • Warm the chickpeas in the microwave briefly before serving (1 mintue).

Layer your Koshari

  • Bring 4-6 plates to serve. It's better to serve Koshari in individual plates to keep its look for each person to dig in solely. 
  • Put a big spoon of lentil rice on a plate. Top with the pasta mixture, add more rice that will act as bedding to the sauce and garnish. Add the vermicelli (if you made it), a big spoon of tomato sauce, then the lentils, top it with crispy onions, and finally some chickpeas. Serve warm. 

Notes

You can cook the vermicelli with the rice and lentils as shown on the picture. It will take the same time. In this case, you won’t be able to use it as a topping.
My mom’s first step in making Koshari is frying the onion in a large skillet with lots of vegetables cooking oil. After she takes the onion out, she strains the oils from the small crisps of the onion and uses this oil in all the other recipe steps. That way, the Koshari will have an oniony flavor that makes all the difference and combine all the layers indescribably. 
Ditto the previous technique with the lentil water. She cooks the lentil first to use the lentil cooking water in preparing the rice. And that’s ladies and gents, is great cooking skills.

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