Koushari – One Of The Most Popular Egyptian Food Recipes
Egyptian Food Recipes are an amalgamation of various other food cultures like Greek, Turkish, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian. The native cooks of Egypt have modified the recipes from these cultures to suit the Egyptian budgets, customs and tastes. The ingredients which dominate over the food recipes are grains, fish, naturally ripened fruits and vegetables. Meat is scarcely used, owed to the death of cattle and high prices.
Below is the recipe of one of the most popular dishes of the Egyptian Food Recipes, for 4 generous servings:
KOUSHARI: Often referred to as the Egyptian national dish, Koushari is one of the most popular dishes in the country. The ingredients include:
– Rice – 1 cup
– Lentils – 1 cup
– Macaroni Pasta – 1 cup
– Onion – 1 (chopped finely)
– Oil – 2 tablespoons and also some for frying
– Onion – 1 (sliced thinly)
– Tomato sauce / Crushed Tomatoes – 2 cups
– Garlic – 2 to 3 cloves (minced)
– Salt and Pepper – To taste
– Pepper flakes – to to 1 teaspoon
The rice is cooked in the requisite quantity of water for 20 minutes in a closed pot, until completely cooked. The lentils are cooked separately in water in an enclosed pot under simmered flame for 30-45 minutes. The macaroni is cooked separately according to the instructions written on the packet.
Now some olive oil is heated in a separate pan over medium flame and the chopped garlic and onion are added to it. These items are sautéed for 4-5 minutes till the words get wilted and translucent. Now, the crushed tomato and the pepper flakes are added to it and stirred for 10-15 minutes under medium-low heat. A little amount of water can also be added, if necessary. It is then seasoned with salt and a bit of pepper and set aside.
The next step is to heat about half an inch of the cooking oil in a skillet and fry the sliced onions in it until they turn brown. These are to be drained on tissue paper or paper towels to get rid of the excess oil.
Now the rice, lentils and macaroni are placed in a large serving bowl, seasoned with pepper and salt to taste and stirred with a fork so that all the ingredients get mixed evenly. While serving, this mixture is toped up with the tomato sauce prepared earlier along with the crispyions. It is best when served hot but can also be served at the normal room temperature.
One can also bring about some variations in Koushari like:
• Instead of macaroni pasta, one can use penne, bucatini or ditalini.
• Cooked chickpeas can also be added to the topping.
• Chunks of cooked chicken and lamb can be added to the Koushari.
• Small pieces can be squeezed over the Koushari to make it more piquant.
• A little amount of ground cumin, cinnamon or 'baharat' spice mix can be added to the tomato sauce.