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?
For the Crispy Onion Topping
1large onion , sliced into thin rings or half-moon shape
¼ cupall-purpose flour
1 cupcooking oil*
For Tomato Sauce
2tbspcooking oil, *the onion oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
400g (15 oz)can tomato sauce, puree
1 tsp cumin
½ 1cupbrown lentils, picked over and well-rinsed
½ 1cupmedium-grain rice, rinsed and drained
The crispy onion topping
Sprinkle the onion rings with salt, toss them in the flour to coat. Shake off excess flour.
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.
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.
Fluff the lentil rice with a fork. Add some of the onion to it and stir gently. Keep covered and warm.
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.
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.