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Egyptian cuisine with variety of toppings


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  • Author: Noreen
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x


Koshary in Egyptian rice.




  • 2 onions, cut into thin slices for frying (for crispier fried onions, toss in 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1½ cups Egyptian rice (or any short grain rice substitute)
  • 1½ cups lentils, preferably brown
  • 5 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon baharat
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup of elbow macaroni (optional)


  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon baharat
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or any other vinegar with at least 5% acidity)

Baharat Spice Mixture

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Stage 1 – Make the Baharat

  1. Bring a medium-sized sauce pot over medium-high heat
  2. Once hot, add cumin seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, whole cloves, and cardamom seeds. Toast the seeds until they start to become fragrant (about ~1 minute)
  3. Transfer the seeds from your pot into a spice grinder with the paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg and grind together until it has the consistency of a fine powder
  4. Set aside your sauce pot but don’t wash – you’ll be using it later

Stage 2 – Frying Onions

  1. In a large stockpot, heat your olive oil over high heat and, when very hot, add the thinly sliced onions
  2. Fry the onions until golden brown (~10 minutes), then set the onions aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. Be sure to keep the flavored olive oil – you’ll be cooking the rest of your koshary with it!

Stage 3 – Koshary

  1. In the same stockpot as your onions were fried, first remove a little bit of the onion-flavored olive oil
  2. Next, put the stockpot back over medium high heat and, once the oil is reheated, add the lentils, 1 teaspoon of baharat and your bay leaf. Fry for ~2 minutes
  3. After 2 minutes, add 3 cups of vegetable broth/water and submerge the lentils
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil before reducing heat to a simmer. Let the lentils simmer for 20 minutes

Stage 4 – Sauce

  1. As the lentils are simmering, bring your sauce pot used for your baharat back to medium-high heat. Add some of the onion-flavored olive oil to the sauce pot
  2. Once the olive oil is reheated, add the garlic and fry until golden brown (2-3 minutes)
  3. As garlic turns golden brown, add the crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of baharat, red chili flakes and sea salt. Bring to a boil before reducing heat to a simmer. Let the sauce then simmer for 10 minutes
  4. After 10 minutes, taste and season accordingly with extra salt and pepper
  5. Then, add the vinegar and simmer for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat when done

Stage 5 – Finishing Koshary

  1. At this point, the lentils will have begun to cook through. Add rice and another 2 cups of broth/water to re-submerge. Let simmer for another 20 minutes

Stage 6 – Macaroni and Other Garnishes

  1. For the final 20 minutes as the rice simmers, use the time to prepare additional garnishes and toppings for your koshary
  2. If making elbow macaroni, cook according to instructions and set aside

Stage 7 – Bringing It All Together

  1. To serve, start with a base of koshary. Add as much sauce as desired followed by additional toppings as you like. And be sure to make abundant use of the fried onions. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Cuisine: Egyptian