This page may contain affiliate links. So I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about the incredible dish called Spicy Koshari!
Movie Night "Cleopatra"
Recently we watched Cleopatra, the 1963 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. This was a lavish film, and I have to say that Elizabeth Taylor was the most amazing Cleopatra!
On movie nights, I enjoy cooking a meal to accompany the film we are going to watch. The meal I choose is somehow inspired by the film. The inspiration could be something actually eaten in the film, or the setting. In this case, it was the setting (or one of the settings).
Cleopatra is set both in Egypt and in Rome. Because the film is rather lengthy, we actually split it up into 2 separate evenings. The first evening we dined on a dish called koshari, the national dish of Egypt! It was super fun enjoying koshari to honor the Queen of the Nile. 🙂
What is Koshari?
Koshari is a delicious vegetarian dish and is considered the national dish of Egypt. It consists of rice, lentils, and macaroni, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions.
This delicious dish is popular as both street food and restaurant food in Egypt. I have read there are some restaurants in Egypt that serve koshari exclusively and that it is becoming ever more popular around the world!
I have enjoyed this dish twice now...once watching Cleopatra and once just because I craved it again. Truly this is an incredibly delicious dish and I'm so happy to have discovered it!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
I am working my way through the foods that are listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. Koshari, which is listed in the book as one of the foods to eat, is food #36 in my project. 🙂
The book mentions several variations on this dish to be found throughout Egypt. I have settled on this version, and I do hope you might give it a try!
A Bit Fiddly To Make...But Worth It!
There are quite a few steps to make this dish. You will need to make crispy fried onions.
Rice is also an essential part of this dish.
Lentils are cooked and then mixed with the rice.
Pasta is also an essential part of this dish. Here I cooked elbow macaroni, but you could substitute vermicelli if you like. 🙂
You will add some chickpeas into the mix as well! This part is easy...used canned chickpeas and simply warm them in your microwave. 🙂
Last but not least, you will create the most delicious and fiery tomato sauce for your koshari! This sauce includes Thai chilis, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, couple pinches of salt, olive oil and vinegar!
It may seem like a lot of work to prepare all the different elements of this dish, but I tell you it is truly worth it. 🙂
Why I Will Continue To Make Koshari
At this time, my mom is of an advanced age and lives on her own. She doesn't get out very much, and one of the joys I have is cooking meals for her.
I dropped off some koshari today for her lunch. When I spoke to her by phone later, she insisted on telling me that this was one of the BEST meals she had enjoyed for a very long time.
She is actually on a low salt diet, so not able to eat much salt. This dish does not contain much salt (exception...the crispy onions which I did not send along for her lunch), but she said it had SO MUCH FLAVOR that she enjoyed it so much! That does my heart good, and so I'll be making much more koshari for my mom. 🙂
I truly hope you will take the time to make this most amazing National Dish of Egypt called Koshari!
Some Other Foods You May Be Interested In!
Please follow along with me on this quest to try the 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, from the book by Mimi Sheraton! Join me in this journey and discover new foods, experiences, and cuisines which I hope will add inspiration, fun, and joy to your life! For a list of the foods tried so far visit the 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page.
Please join me by signing up here. 🙂
أتمنى لك وجبة شهية (Enjoy your meal! in Arabic :-)) Cheers! Grace
- 1 onion sliced
- salt couple pinches of salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup rice uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil to stir fry the rice with
- 2 cups water for cooking the rice
- 1 cup elbow macaroni uncooked
- 1 cup lentils uncooked
- 7.5 oz chickpeas from a can, and drained
Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 15 oz tomato sauce canned
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ onion minced
- 4 Thai chilis minced
- 2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- salt couple pinches
- ½ ts pepper
- ½ ts cumin
- ½ ts coriander
- garlic sliced or minced
- red pepper flakes or chilis
- ONION Heat ¼ cup olive oil to med high in a frying pan. Pat dry sliced onions with a paper towel, then toss with a couple of pinches of salt. Add to the frying pan once the oil is hot, and stir until the onions are nice and crispy! You want to ensure the onions don't burn so stir quite a lot! Once crispy, drain on paper towels and set aside.
- RICE Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a saucepan on med high high. Add the rice and stir fry for a couple of minutes, ensuring all the grains are coated with the oil. Add the rice, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the water is absorbed. Use your package directions as a guide. Fluff your rice and set aside.
- LENTILS Cook lentils according to package directions.
- Once the rice and lentils are cooked, combine and keep warm on a low setting.
- MACARONI Cook macaroni according to package directions, and set aside. Add a few drops of olive oil and stir to prevent sticking. Keep warm.
- TOMATO SAUCE Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan on med high. Add the minced garlic, onion, and chilis once hot. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, and then add your tomato sauce. Now add 2 tablespoon vinegar, and your spices (pinch of salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander). Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
- CHICKPEAS Just prior to serving, heat up your chickpeas (I use a microwave to make things easy :-))
- GET READY TO ASSEMBLE YOUR MASTERPIECE!
- Add the lentil and rice mixture to your plate and top with the elbow macaroni. Top with the spicy tomato sauce, chickpeas and then fried onions yay!