Saturday, February 19, 2011


When I started this blog, I asked my friend Blair, who spent a summer in Cairo, if she would cook with me. She immediately got excited about showing me koshari (or koshary), which she pretty much lived on while she was there. Months passed and we never got around to cooking together, but then last week she sent me this article about how koshari was pretty much feeding the revolution. It's peasant food: filling and frequently cheaper to buy than to make yourself. So we found a recipe she said looked reasonably authentic, and whipped it up on Thursday. Blair describes koshari as Egyptian chili. It was tasty, and my favorite thing about it is that it's a complete meal you can whip up with pantry staples. It wasn't quite as cheap as Ramen, but close, and much more nutritious.

We ate the koshari with some wine my friend Kenny brought me back from Egypt. We expected it to be terrible, but it was actually reasonably drinkable.

Serves 4

1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup dried elbow macaroni
1 medium onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne or crushed red pepper to taste

Soak the lentils in water for 30-90 minutes. Drain and cook in 1/2 liter of salted water, bringing them to a boil before letting them simmer, covered, for 15 minutes (you can also skip the soaking and just cook them for 30 minutes, but I was looking to minimize active cooking time). Meanwhile, chop and saute the onion in oil until golden. Add the garlic and saute another minute or two. Add the rice to the lentils and simmer, covered until rice is done, about 20 minutes. Boil elbow macaroni in salted water until done; drain. Add tomatoes, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, and pepper to the onions and cook gently until slightly reduced. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Those are lentils and rice. Really.

Blair: "Do you really have to take my picture?"


  1. That looks really tasty, and all the ingredients are super simple! I might have to try this.

  2. You definitely should! This is another of my easy favorites:

    I want to do chicken with lemon and olives for Morocco, but you should definitely check out that recipe. Instead of fresh tomatoes, I use a can of diced. Much easier!