Egyptian Carb Lover’s Dream (Koshari)

Koshari is a traditional Egyptian dish of rice, chickpeas, and noodles. It is considered the national dish of Egypt, along with full medames, and is an incredibly popular street food. In cities like Cairo, you can find anything from a 2-story koshari restaurant to koshari street carts along the sides of the streets. It has no meat, but is so filling even carnivores love it.

Egyptian Koshari

Koshari is THE street food in Egypt. It is both filling and healthy. It's great for casual parties and other large gatherings as well. The instructions may look long, but is fairly easy to cook as everything can be done in advance with minimal effort and assembled at the last minute.
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Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Street Food
Cuisine: African, Egypt, North Africa
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Medium saucepan or rice maker
  • Medium saucepan
  • Pot or large saucepan
  • small frying pan
  • Medium frying pan
  • Colander


Rice, Pasta, Chickpeas


  • 2 cup Brown lentils
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil or butter
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 16 oz Can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin


  • 8 oz Vermicelli pasta
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 pinch Salt

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp White distilled vinegar
  • 32 oz Canned tomato sauce
  • 1 pinch Salt and black pepper

Cumin Sauce

  • 1 tsp Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 4 tbsp White vinegar

Fried Onion

  • 3 large Onions, sliced
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt


Prepare Pasta, Rice, Chickpeas

  • Make white rice. Cook pasta following package's instructions. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Transfer each to its own bowl.

Prepare Lentils

  • Thoroughly rinse lentils in a colander. Add lentils to a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until they are just al dente. Drain without rinsing. In the same pot, cook onion in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add lentils back into pot along with tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper and cook until just thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Prepare Vermicelli

  • Heat olive oil or butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Break vermicelli into 3-inch pieces and add to pot. Cook, stirring, until the turn golden brown. Add water little-by-little and stir until tender. Season with salt. Set aside.

Make Tomato Sauce

  • Sauté garlic in oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and vinegar and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Season with salt. Set aside,

Make Cumin Sauce

  • In a small pan over medium heat, sauté garlic, and cumin for 30 seconds. Stir in vinegar and water. Season with salt.

Fry Onions

  • Pour oil into a deep pot set over medium-high heat. Salt onion slices and then dredge in flour. Add onions to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they turn a deep brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool and get crispy. Take 2 tablespoon of the oil and stir it into the rice.

Assemble and Serve

  • Koshary may be served in different ways:
    1) Each component may be put out in individual bowls so diners may select whatever combination they want.
    2) Combine the rice, vermicelli, and lentils in a casserole dish. Then top with pasta, chickpeas, tomato sauce and top with onions.
    3) An impressive way to serve koshary is to fill a large bowl with the rice, lentils, vermicelli, and pasta. Mix everything together and then pack down tightly. Invert the bowl onto a serving platter. This will leave a dome that may then be surrounded by chickpeas warmed in the microwave and then topped with tomato sauce and the fried onions. Cumin sauce is always served on the side.


Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 704mg | Potassium: 821mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 553IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 6mg

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