Egypt has several national dishes. Aish baladi (a dry wheat bread), kofta (spicy lamb), lamb kebabs, ful midamess (spicy bean paste with onions and tomatoes), tahini (sesame paste), and koushari (lentils, macaroni pasta, rice, and chick peas) being the most well-known. Mint teas are also very popular. Because much of the Egyptian populace is made up of lower-to-middle-class citizens, wine is rare and usually reserved for the wealthy, but with an abundance of barley and because it is affordable, beer is quite common. This is a typical dish prepared during fasts. You can substitute one layer of cooked elbow macaroni for a layer of rice.

Ingredients

  • 225 gm brown lentils
  • 225 gm short grain rice
  • 225 gm uncooked pasta (elbow macaroni is best)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper

Direction:

  • Cook the lentils in just over a 5 cups of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you are using. Keep checking and add water if needed.
  • At the same time cook up some rice using a 1 cup rice to 2 1/2 cups water ratio. I measure the water and the rice with the same cup.
  • Cook the macaroni in a separate pot like you normally would. Rinse and strain when done.
  • Meanwhile, fry the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. At the very last minute of frying add the coriander. Then just pour the tomato sauce on and simmer.
  • Mix the lentils, rice and macaroni together in one pot.
  • Add about a tbsp of vinegar to the sauce after you take it off the burner.
  • Place some of the lentil mixture on each plate and top with tomato sauce.
  • Sprinkle with hot chili powder or salt and pepper, if desired.
Tagged: Stuart