Easy Egyptian Koshari Recipe
January, 2015 · By Coryanne Ettiene
I love street food, especially when it comes with the sights and sounds of the city moving around you. If I sit and think about it long enough, almost every street dish that I call a favorite, includes rice in some fashion. If I were to connect the dots of all the street carts I’ve dined at around the world, rice would be the common thread that connected them all — you can take rice and make it something exotic and personal just by changing the ingredients, perhaps that is why even today when I long for comfort food, I also long for rice.
The first time I had Koshari, I was 23 years old in Cairo wandering the streets looking more like a wide eyed deer than an experienced globe trotter. Everything about the city captivated me because it was in stark contrast to any other city in the Middle East I had been to. The noise was invasive, the color explosive and the smell of sweet perfume and browning onions mixed together to bring you an aroma unlike any other. I remember holding a cup of Koshari in my hands and diving into this amazing melody of North African delights…. like the city, it grabbed hold of me and quickly became a dish I would never forget.
When we lived in London I would stop at every Egyptian cafe I found to sample their Koshari until I learned that no 2 bowls are the same. The beauty of Koshari is in the spice medley and rice. It is an art where heat, aroma, sweet, savory and nuttiness combine; a balance so fine that the story of the Koshari is told in the cooking, not the recipe; so it makes sense that one of the first dishes I learned to make was Koshari, a dish that would change as my cooking confidence increased, and will most likely evolve as I continue to play with my ingredients.
Koshari can be a complicated dish made using very simple ingredients. It’s not an ideal mid week meal because of the layers of flavor that go into the perfect cup, but with a few shortcuts, like using Veetee Basmati rice, you can trim off cooking time to make it more accessible on any given Wednesday night. I first discovered Veetee Rice when we lived in London — and trust me when I say I was more than excited when I heard they were coming to the US. They have an exclusive technology that allows you to cook the rice in just 2 minutes — in other words, you can add it to you soups, stews, skillet dinners, stir fry dishes or Koshari pots at the last minute saving your time and cooking steps in the process, while also delivering consistently great taste & texture.
Koshari Recipe – traditionally served with a spicy tomato sauce, you can soften it up with a cucumber and yogurt salad if you’re looking for something with less bite.
- 1 1/2 Cup of green lentils
- 1 Tray of Veetee Basmati rice, or 1 Cup of Basmati rice
- 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/2 Cup of Vermicelli noodle, broken into small 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 Cup of Chicken Stock, with more on reserve should you need it
- Pinch of ground nutmeg, or a 1/4 teaspoon if you like it stronger
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 White onions, thinly sliced.
- Pinch of white granulated sugar
- Wash the lentils under cool water then add them to a large sauce pan filled with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce, cover and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes; taking care that you do not over cook them. Once cooked, remove from the heat, strain and allow them to rest at room temperature.
- Lightly coat a frying pan with olive oil and warm the pan on medium heat before adding the onions and cooking slowly for 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally to avoid over browning (aka, burning). Just before they are golden brown, add in a pinch of sugar and stir for an extra note of sweetness.
- In a large stock pot, warm the butter and then toss in the raw noodles, and cook on medium heat until they start to crips and brown.
- Add the chicken stock, seasoning and spices to the large pot, stirring to fully coat the noodles and then allow them to simmer for 5-7 minutes before adding the tray of Veetee Rice. Fold the ingredients together and allow continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
- At some point you will have 3 pots going at the same time. One for the onions, the other for the noodles and the third for the lentils. Once they are all done cooking, add the lentils and onions to the large stock pot with the noodles and rice blend. Fold together and then transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh cilantro and feast.
Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by Veetee Rice USA. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Veettee Rice. Veetee Rice comes in 10 varieties: Wholegrain Brown, Long Grain, Basmati & Wild, Thai Jasmine, Pilau, Spicy Mexican Style, Golden Vegetable, Basmati, Chicken Flavor, Thai Lime & Herb all with a 12 month ambient shelf life. Be sure to join the conversation at #VeeteeValentine and connect with them on Facebook and Pinterest.