I absolutely love koushari. It’s a perfect mix of protein-rich lentils, rice, tomato sauce and noodles. This recipe is slightly different from what you can buy from street shops, but is not missing any of the taste!
1 cup brown lentils
5 cups water (for boiling the lentils)
1 teaspoon salt (for boiling the lentils)
1 cup small macaroni noodles
4 cups of water (for boiling the noodles)
2 teaspoons of salt (for boiling the noodles)
1 cup short grain rice
2 tablespoons oil (for the rice)
2 cups of water (for the rice)
1 teaspoon of salt (for the rice)
2 large onions
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups tomato puree (about 4 tomatoes)
1. Prepare the lentils.
a. After picking over the lentils, wash them under running water in a sieve.
b. Place in a large pot and add 5 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour until tender but still intact. Drain and keep aside.
2. Prepare the macaroni.
a. Using another large pot (or the same one, after cleaning), add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni. Stir constantly until water returns to the boils and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally. Drain and keep aside. Clean pot again and dry.
3. Prepare the rice.
a. Wash the rice in a sieve under running water and drain. Heat the oil in the pot and fry the rice over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until tender. Leave covered off the heat for 5 minutes for grains to separate.
4. Prepare the tomato sauce.
a. Dice peeled onions or use a food processor (I did).
b. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the diced onions and fry over medium heat until golden brown. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
c. Puree the tomatoes (about 4) in your food processor so will have about 3 and 1/2 cups of puree.
d. Mix the tomato puree into the onion and garlic mix and bring to a boil.
e. In a separate bowl, mix the lentils and macaroni and cooked rice and toss together lightly with a fork.
f. Pour the hot tomato sauce on top of the mixture and serve.
Note: Many Egyptians make a separate tomato sauce and a separate garlic sauce and then top their koushari with fried onions. This variation is a bit easier!
This recipe is adapted from a recipe from The Complete Middle East Cookbook, Tess Mallos.