Kushari (Egyptian street dish)
Our Arabic flavor recipe of the month was from Egypt! Kushari,a flavorful combination of lentil, rice and macaroni topped with a spicy tomato chili sauce, and crispy fried onions. Despite its Indian origins, the Egyptians turned it into a culinary masterpiece; which eventually became a staple in the Egyptian cuisine. Aside from being prepared at home, it is also served at roadside stalls and restaurants all over Egypt, specially in Cairo.
Recipe was introduced to us by the beautiful Aya Kiwan (host of the month)
and that was my entry for the challenge,,and it was just the perfect, amazing Kushari I have ever tried.
Kushari (Egyptian street dish)
- 2 cups Egyptian rice - 1/4 kilo brown lentils, soaked over night - 1/4 kilo chickpeas, soaked over night - 100 g spaghetti pasta - 100 g elbow pasta (small sized) - 3 white onions, chopped julienne style - 1/2 cup corn oil - 1 Tbls tomato paste Tomato Sauce ingredients: - 3/4 kilo tomatoes, crushed then strained - 2 garlic cloves, crushed - 1 tsp cumin - salt Daqqa ingredients: "chili vinegar dressing to add to tomato sauce" - 1/4 cup hot water - 2 Tbls vinegar - Juice of 2 lemons - 2 garlic cloves, crushed - 1 green chili pepper - salt, according to preference
*Before getting into details, I would like to mention that there are several ways to make this dish, but this is my mother in law's recipe and I consider it the tastiest of them all. This recipe calls for cooking the lentils and rice each separately, not together in the same pot like in most recipes, the thing that distinguishes the flavor of the dish I'm presenting today. Preparing this dish takes a good amount of time, but if you follow my steps thoroughly with a pinch of multitasking skills, you will be able to cut the time in half.
Directions : - Drain the soaking water of lentils and chickpeas, rinse thoroughly then replace with fresh boiling water and bring to boil. - Heat oil on high heat in the pot you intend to cook the rice in. Fry onions till brown and crispy, preferably white onions for their extra crunch, sprinkle with salt while frying. Fry in two patches and set aside in a wide dish to maintain crunchiness. Bare in mind that you will use the onions frying oil in many stages of preparing this dish, so if you feel you will need more oil then make sure to add more at this stage. - After boiling the lentils for 10 minutes, wash, strain and add salt and some of the onions frying oil. Set aside. - As for the chickpeas, drain the water as soon as it starts boiling, wash then replace with fresh boiling water again. Add the tomato paste spoon to it and let it boil till cooked. When cooked, strain, add salt and set aside. - To make the tomato sauce, in a pan add 3 spoons of the fried onions oil, minced garlic, crushed tomatoes, cumin and salt then let it cook till it starts simmering. Turn off heat. - At this stage you should be doing the above mentioned steps all at once on the stove top to cut the preparation time in half. - Cook both types of pasta separately according to package directions, strain, add some of the friend onions oil to coat. Set aside. - Cook rice as you usually do but by giving it a fry with the remaining oil of the fried onions first. Cook till its done. - Meanwhile, you will also prepare the "Daqqa" to add to the tomato sauce by mixing hot water, lemon juice, garlic, green chili pepper and salt in an electric mixer. Add the mix to the tomato sauce and cook until sauce thickens and oil rises to the top. Finally add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Assembling the dish: In a wide serving dish, layering should go as follows.. 1- Rice 2- Lentils 3- Spaghetti pasta 4- Elbow pasta 5- Tomato-Daqqa sauce 6- Chickpeas 7- Crunchy Onions If you wish to have an extra spicy sauce, you can fry some dry chili flakes or chili powder in some of the fried onions oil, then add a big spoon of the tomato sauce to it. Beware that this can be extremely spicy, so it's not recommended for people with allergies to consume. It is very common in Egypt to serve milk pudding as a dessert after having Kushari. Bon Appétit