What is Kushari?

Kushari usually includes chickpeas.

Considered the national dish of Egypt, kushari is a type of pasta usually served with a tomato-based sauce. This dish is unusual in that it doesn’t just include pasta, but also rice and lentils, making the meal extremely high in starches. Kushari is often found in small local restaurants and stalls in Egypt. While it can be made at home, this dish is best suited for mass production and professional settings.

Although noodle dough is often used for kushari, any type of dough, including long noodles, can be used. A type of long-grain rice is usually included. Brown lentils are preferred in this dish.

Chopped or crushed tomatoes are a common ingredient in kushari.

In addition to starches, onion and garlic are used. Crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, plus chili flakes, are also included. Chickpeas are usually added and meat, usually lamb or chicken, can be included. As with many dishes, salt and pepper are added to taste. Additional seasoning includes cinnamon or cumin.

To make kushari, onions are sliced ​​and then fried in oil. Some versions cook the onions long enough to caramelize. Whether simply fried or caramelized, onions can be removed from the skillet and allowed to drain on a paper towel after cooking. Some versions, however, included chopped onions in addition to the sliced ​​ones. These are fried in a separate pan and the other ingredients are added to them.

The garlic and chili flakes, as well as the tomato sauce, are placed in the skillet after the onions are fried. The mixture is brought to a boil and water is added as needed. Once boiled, salt, pepper and any additional spices are included.

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Lentils, rice and pasta are cooked separately. Each is boiled or boiled in its own pot of water. The main reason kushari is so difficult to cook at home is because of these starches. Not only does the cook need enough space on the stove to have all three and the tomato sauce cooking at the same time, but each element has a different cooking time, so timing all four elements to finish at the same time is almost an art. .

If chickpeas are used, it is combined with the cooked pasta. After all the ingredients are cooked, the lentils, pasta and rice are combined in a bowl. The tomato sauce mixture is then poured on top and the finished dish is garnished with the fried onions. In Egypt, kushari is often served with a vinegar-based hot sauce.

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