Koshari (also spelled kushari and koshary) is one of the national dishes of Egypt, and it's what I call "real deal comfort food". You can find koshari in almost every home in Egypt, kind of like mac and cheese. This Egyptian koshari recipe is a family recipe and the best I've ever had. If you are ever visiting Egypt, I recommend trying ful medames, mulukhiyah with roz, and koshari (of course)!
Also, this recipe is perfect for batch cooking and meal prepping for the week because it makes a large amount. It reheats extremely well, so it's one of my favorite meals to preapre ahead of time.
What Is Koshari?
Koshari is a bowl of lentil rice, pasta, chickpeas, vinegar tomato sauce, topped with fried onions. It's
Many kushari recipes only have a cooked red vinegar sauce. However, this recipe has two types of red sauce: a fresh red sauce and a koshari cooked vinegar red sauce. My mother in law has perfected this recipe over a lifetime, and the fresh red sauce is the secret sauce.
What To Serve With Koshari?
Normally, koshari is served as a standalone dish. However, you can add some boiled eggs on the side. Also, a chopped salad goes well with this dish.
Ingredients You'll Need:
- Tomatoes: I like to use tomatoes on the vine, however, Roma tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes work just fine. I don't recommend using canned tomatoes in this recipe.
- Chickpeas: I recommend using dried chickpeas, however, canned chickpeas can be substituted to save some time.
- Pasta: Traditional koshari uses white pasta, but a healthier alternative is whole wheat pasta. In fact, I prefer whole wheat pasta for this recipe when I can find whole wheat spaghetti and whole wheat elbow pasta.
- Brown Lentils: I recommend using brown lentils for the right koshari experience.
- Onions: You can use white onions, brown onions, white onions, sweet onions, or red onions.
- Tomato Paste: Any type of tomato paste will do for this recipe. The tomato paste is used for the koshari vinegar red sauce.
- Garlic: I recommend using fresh garlic.
- Bell Peppers: I use green bell peppers, but yellow, red, or orange bell peppers can be used.
- Spicy Pepper: If you like spicy food, you can use any type of spicy pepper. Be careful not to overdo it though!
- White Vinegar: I use distilled white vinegar. I don't recommend using any other type of vinegar, because it will change the flavor of the koshari vinegar red sauce.
- Lime: I use fresh limes, and prefer limes over lemons for this dish.
- Oil: Any type of oil can be used in this recipe. One tip my mother-in-law gave me was to use the same oil that was used to fry the onions (after frying the onions) because it's infused with an onion flavor.
- Spices: This authentic Egyptian koshari recipe needs ground cumin, ground coriander, and ground chili powder.
- Salt and pepper to taste
Tips for Making Egyptian Koshari
- I recommend following the steps just as I lay them out in the recipe instructions to save the most time. Prepare the chickpeas with cumin first while frying the onions first. Check out this web story on how to make koshari for a quick summary.
- If you want to lighten this recipe up, use whole wheat pasta and reduce the amount of oil used for the koshari rice.
- Chop the onions into thin circles. Allow the onions tossed in flour rest for 30 minutes prior to frying. Sunflower oil yields the most crispy fried onions.
- Use the oil from the fried onions in other parts of this recipe. This is a tip I've heard from 2 sources to make the most flavorful koshari.
The Famous Koshari Vinegar Sauce Recipe
When you think of koshari, you think of the vinegar red sauce that's poured over the pasta and lentil rice. The red sauce is cooked with garlic and vinegar, and sometimes it's spicy. This red sauce is the key to some great koshari.
In this family recipe, there is a second fresh red salsa that's absolutely amazing, and it compliments this vinegar red sauce really well.
How to Assemble the Perfect Koshari Bowl
On the downside, this recipe is quite involved as it has several parts to it. I made the list in order of how you assemble the bowl starting with adding the lentil rice first.
- Lentil rice
- Chickpeas in cumin
- Cooked red sauce
- Fresh red sauce
- Fried onions
The secret to an amazing bowl of koshari is the right portions of each layer. Personally, I go overboard with the fresh red sauce and fried onions. But, experiment for yourself what you prefer.
How Long Does It Take To Make Koshari?
Each part is easy to do, but if you are in a hurry, it can get overwhelming. If you are making this for your first time, block off about 1.5 to 2 hours to take your time.
Try Some More Amazing Egyptian Recipes
- Molokhia with Roasted Chicken Recipe
- The Best Baked Falafel Recipe (Egyptian Ta'ameya)
- Egyptian Bamia Recipe with Akawi (Oxtail Stew with Okra)
- Mahshi Crumb (Stuffed Cabbage Leaves)
- Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce (Mesa'ah)
- Renga - Egyptian Style Herring Fish