Koshari, a famous street food and the National dish of Egypt, is often written as Koshary or Kushari. You'll find it served in restaurants and from food carts. This dish is a delightful combination of layers: rice, lentils, pasta, crunchy fried onions, and hearty chickpeas.
The trio of accompanying sauces makes the Koshari recipe even more exciting: a rich tomato sauce, a spicy kick of hot sauce (shattah), and a flavorful cumin sauce. It's not only incredibly delicious but also a vegan delight. The best part? Koshari is prepared in a single pot!
❤️ WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Easy preparation: This dish is incredibly simple, with straightforward instructions that even beginners can follow.
Versatile ingredients: This recipe allows for flexibility in ingredient choices, making it adaptable to various dietary preferences and restrictions.
Delicious flavor profile: The combination of lentils, rice, pasta, and a flavorful tomato-based sauce creates a harmonious blend of textures and flavors.
Authentic taste: This koshari recipe stays true to the traditional koshari, giving an authentic taste that will transport you to the streets of Cairo.
All you need are some simple ingredients from your pantry to make this delicious koshari recipe at home. These are some other main ingredients.
Short-grain rice: We will be using short-grain rice or Egyptian rice. It will provide a fluffy and sticky texture to the dish. You can go for basmati as well, but I don't recommend using any short-grain sticky rice.
Green lentils: There are two types of green lentils: small and large. I use the large one for this recipe since it cooks faster.
Cooking oil: We will use a lot of oil in this recipe to make the koshari and the sauces, so if you decide on using olive oil, only use it to make the sauces and not for frying the onions. You can also use ghee, but not for all the steps, or the dish will turn out heavy.
Elbow macaroni: We will also be using elbow macaroni. It will give a soft and chewy texture to the dish.
Spaghetti: We will be adding spaghetti broken in half or to three. It will provide long and thin strands of pasta that will soak up the dish's flavors.
Onion: You'll also need an onion for this dish. You can go for yellow onion, but of course, I went for red onion for more flavor. Some add flour to the onion before frying it to keep it crispy, but there is no need for it in this recipe.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE EGYPTIAN KOSHARI
To make the authentic koshari, follow the recipe in the recipe card and in the same order. More details are in the recipe card!
To Caramelize or Brown the Onions:
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and stir occasionally to guarantee even browning.
Spread the caramelized onions on a kitchen paper towel to cool. Do not cover them, as they will become slightly crispy as they cool.
To Make the Koshari Rice:
To make the koshari rice, add the onion oil (the oil used to fry the onions) to a large pan. Heat the oil over medium heat, then add the vermicelli and fry until it turns brown. Next, add the washed and drained rice to the pan and fry for another minute or two.
Next, prepare to drain the green lentils and add them to the rice, mixing for a few seconds. Then add the elbow macaroni and mix again for a few more seconds. Drop in the chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes and pour in the boiling water. If you’re not using low-sodium bouillon, add salt at this stage.
Once the mixture is about to boil, add the broken spaghetti and mix well to prevent it from sticking. Cover the pan and increase the heat.
When you can no longer see water on the surface of the rice and pasta, gently mix the mixture, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and let the rice and pasta cook for 11 to 13 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, cover it, and set it aside.
To Make the Tomato Sauce:
To make the tomato sauce, add the onion oil to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir for a few seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Pour in the tomato puree and stir.
Once the mixture starts to simmer, add the tomato paste, spices, salt, and sugar. Mix well for a minute, then add the water. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the oil comes to the surface and the sauce thickens slightly. Cover the saucepan and set it aside.
For the Cumin Sauce:
To make the cumin sauce, boil water in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander powder, and salt. Stir in the white vinegar and mix well. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and set it aside.
To Make the Chili Sauce (Shattah):
To make the chili sauce (Shattah), heat the onion oil in a small saucepan. Once hot, add the red chili powder and mix for a few seconds. Add one or two tablespoons of the tomato sauce and two tablespoons of the cumin sauce.
Stir well, then turn off the heat. Be cautious, as the chili may produce smoke and cause coughing if it is too hot.
To Assemble the Koshari Plate:
Finally, to assemble the koshari, scoop out a serving of the rice onto a plate. Pour some tomato sauce in the middle of the rice, and add a small amount of chili sauce on top, depending on your desired level of spiciness.
Garnish with chickpeas and fried onions. Some people prefer to pour the cumin sauce over the koshari at the end, while others choose to pour it as they eat.
🍽️ HOW TO SERVE
- Serve with a fresh salad made with chickpeas, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil. The refreshing flavors of the salad complement the spiciness of the koshari.
- Top the Egyptian koshari with a dollop of creamy yogurt or sour cream to add a cool and tangy element. The creaminess of the yogurt balances out the heat from the spices and adds a rich texture.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro. The herbs add a burst of freshness and elevate the overall flavor profile of the dish.
- Serve it as a breakfast, along with hummus and falafel, for a delicious and nutritious breakfast meal. You can even add protein by serving it with some boiled eggs if you'd like.
- Pair with a side of warm, freshly baked pita bread or flatbread. The bread can be used to scoop up the koshari mixture. The combination of soft bread and flavorful koshari is a match made in heaven.
To store leftovers of the koshari, allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator and store it for up to 3-4 days.
When ready to reheat, simply remove the desired portion from the container and heat it in the microwave or stovetop until heated through. If the dish has become dry, add a splash of water or broth to moisten it.
You can also freeze koshari for up to two months. I recommend always storing it in an airtight container to prevent any other smell in the freezer or fridge from sneaking into it. Reheat as instructed above when you're ready to have it.
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⭐PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW
If you have tried this recipe and liked it, please give it a 5-star rating and leave a comment below with your experience!
Egyptian Koshari Made in One Pan
To caramelize the onion
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- ½ to ¾ cup cooking oil
To make the koshari rice
- 1 cup short-grain rice or Egyptian rice (Read the notes)
- ¼ cup green lentils. Wash and soak in very hot water for one hour before using in this recipe
- ½ cup small elbow macaroni uncooked
- ¼ cup vermicelli uncooked
- 60 gm spaghetti break in half or to three
- 3 tablespoon onion oil leftover oil from frying the onion
- 1 cube chicken or vegetable bouillon
- 3 ½ cups boiling water
To make the tomato sauce
- 1 large tomato pureed or two medium tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon onion oil
- 1 cup water
To make cumin sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
To make chili sauce or chili oil (Shattah)
- 2 ½ tablespoon onion oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 to 2 tablespoon tomato sauce previously prepared
- 2 tablespoon cumin sauce prepared previously
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas use canned
To caramelize or brown the onion
- In a saucepan, add the oil, and when it is hot, fry the onion slices. Make sure to stir the onion now and then to help brown the onion evenly. When the onion turns brown, turn off the heat because it will start to darken fast. Remove the onion from the oil using a slotted spoon.
- Spread the onion on a kitchen paper towel and let it cool, do not cover. The onion will get a little crispy.
To make the koshari rice
- Add the onion oil (the oil we fried the onion in) to a large pan. When the oil is hot, add the vermicelli and fry until brown. Now, add the washed and drained rice and fry for another minute or two on medium heat.
- Drain the green lentils, add to the rice, mix for a few seconds, then add the elbow macaroni and mix for a few more seconds. Drop the chicken or vegetable bouillon and the boiling water. When the mixture is about to boil, add the broken spaghetti and add it to the rice; mix again to prevent the spaghetti from sticking. Cover the pan and increase the heat. In this step, if you are not using low sodium bouillon, add salt.
- When you can no longer see the water on the surface of the rice and pasta, mix the mixture gently, reduce the heat to the lowest, cover the pan, and let the rice and pasta cook for 11 to 13 minutes. Turn off the heat. Fluff the rice with a fork and then cover it and keep it aside.
To make the tomato sauce
- In a saucepan, add the onion oil, and when it is hot, add the minced garlic. Stir the garlic for a few seconds; careful it shouldn’t burn. Pour the tomato puree and stir.
- When the mixture simmer, add the tomato paste, spices, salt, and sugar. Mix well for a minute, and then add the water. Let it come to a boil, and then let it simmer until the oil comes to the surface and the sauce gets a little thicker, as shown in the video. Cover and keep aside.
To make the cumin sauce
- In a saucepan, add the water, and when it boils, add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander powder, and salt. Add the white vinegar and mix well. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and keep it aside.
To make the chili sauce (Shattah)
- In a small saucepan, add the onion oil, and when it’s hot, add the red chili powder. Mix for a few seconds, add one or two tablespoons from the tomato sauce and add two tablespoons from the cumin sauce.
- Mix well, turn off the heat. You will need to open the windows because the smoke from the chili might make you cough if the chili was too hot!
To assemble the koshari
- To serve one plate, scoop out the rice, then pour some tomato sauce in the middle of the rice; on top of it, pour a very small amount from the chili sauce depending on how spicy you like your koshari. Garnish with chickpeas and fried onions. Some pour the cumin sauce at the end, others keep pouring it as they eat.
- Don’t use brown rice, it will take a long time to cook and the pasta will become mushy.
- Short grain sticky rice will not work in this recipe.
- You can use basmati rice.
- Look for Egyptian rice or short-grain rice.
- Please note that American Chili powder is a blend of spices, while in this recipe, you will need hot red chili powder.
- You don’t have to make all the sauces mentioned in this post; most people only go for tomato sauce.
- I didn’t add salt to the rice since the chicken bouillon had enough salt. If you are using low sodium, taste the water for seasoning and add a pinch of salt.
- To save time, you can use store-bought crispy onions, but you will miss the flavor in the sauces and koshari.
- You can also use a spice blend called bahart which is a blend of Arabic spices instead of cumin and coriander powder.
- I have used medium size garlic cloves it has more flavor.