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Egyptian Recipe for Koshari

by Lily
egyptian recipe for koshari

Let me begin by saying that this Egyptian recipe for koshari is more like a family recipe. Everyone makes koshari a little different. The main similarities though is lentil rice, pasta, some form of tomato sauce, and fried onions on top.

This recipe has two types of red sauce: a fresh red sauce and a cooked red sauce. Both sauces have very different flavor profiles, but when combined together, compliment each other very well.

This meal is not quick to make, however, it makes a very large amount. We have been eating this Egyptian recipe for koshari for 3 days now. And, I will only eat something for 3 days if it tastes good.

This recipe is vegan-friendly and budget-friendly.

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
  • Pasta
  • Chickpeas in cumin
  • Cooked red sauce
  • Fresh red sauce
  • Fried onions

Each part is easy to do, but if you are in a hurry, it can get overwhelming. So if you are making this for your first time, block off about 2 to 2.5 hours to take your time.

The ingredient amounts and number of servings for the recipe are in the recipe card at the bottom.

Make Chickpeas with Cumin

Boil dried chickpeas in water for about 45 minutes to an hour. Once they are semi-soft, drain the water.

Add cumin, salt, and more water back to the same pot. Boil the chickpeas a second time for another 45 minutes or until cooked completely. This is the step that takes the longest, so I’d recommend doing this first.

While the chickpeas are cooking, soak the lentils.

chickpeas cooked

Make Fresh Red Salsa

Add 6 medium whole tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 2 bell peppers, and 5 garlic cloves to the food processor and blend on high.

make fresh tomato sauce

Add 1 tsp of ground cumin, 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of ground coriander, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add juice from 2 limes. Blend once more in the food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

egyptian recipe for koshari red sauce

Make Koshari Rice

Soak lentils in water for about an hour if possible. If you are short on time, then don’t worry! You can cook the lentils anyways.

strained lentils

Blend 2 medium onions in the food processor. Set a large pot to medium-high heat with 1/4 cup of oil.

Add onions and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add all of the lentils to the pot (which will be larger than 2 cups if they have been soaking). Add roughly 8 cups of water and increase the heat to high.

Boil until the lentils are semi-cooked.

make koshari rice

Add 4 cups of rice. Add enough water to reach the level of the lentil and rice mixture. Once the rice and lentils start to boil, turn down the heat to low and cover the pot.

Cook the lentils and rice for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice and lentils are tender. After the lentil rice has cooked, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Boil Pasta

Boil water with salt. Add spaghetti past and elbow pasta. We like to use whole wheat pasta, but any type of pasta will work. Cook pasta. Drain and toss with a light amount of olive oil.

Make the Fried Onions

While the rice and pasta are cooking, chop the onions into circular pieces. Toss with flour. Fry in oil.

onions chopped with flour
fry onions

I like my fried onion crispy like below.

fried onions

Make Cooked Red Sauce

Blend 5 tomatoes in a blender. Strain and set aside.

Fry 6 garlic cloves with chilis or chili powder in oil (to your desired spicy level). Add tomato paste and vinegar. Add tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, then add ground cumin and coriander.

Assemble the Koshari Bowl

After all of this hard work, I’m sure you are ready to eat!

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.

egyptian recipe for koshari

Would you like to try another authentic Egyptian recipe? Try the molokhia with roasted chicken recipe.

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egyptian recipe for koshari

Egyptian Recipe for Koshari

  • Author: Lilian B.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Koshari is a vegan meal of rice, chickpeas, homemade red salsa and fried onions. This Egyptian recipe for koshari is my mother in laws secret recipe!



  • 5 medium onions
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 bag of spaghetti
  • 1/2 bag elbow pasta
  • 2 cup brown lentils
  • 4 cups dry rice
  • 11 whole tomatoes
  • 1 small packet of tomato paste or 3 tbsp
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 spicy pepper
  • white vinegar
  • ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • 3 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying



  1. Boil 2 cups of dried chickpeas until semi-cooked (about 45 minutes to an hour). Drain water.
  2. Add fresh water and 1 tbsp of cumin. Boil chickpeas a second time for another 45 minutes.
  3. Once chickpeas are cooked, squeeze 1/2 of a lime over chickpeas.

Fresh Red Sauce

  1. Blend 6 tomatoes, 2 bell peppers, 1 medium onion, and 6 garlic cloves in the food processor.
  2. If you would like a spicy sauce, add 2 spicy peppers.
  3. Add 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of ground coriander, 3 tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add juice from 2 limes.
  4. Blend and set aside.

Koshari Rice

  1. Blend 2 medium onions in food processor.
  2. Cook onions with oil on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large pot, add cooked onions and 2 cups of brown lentils (these will be larger in volume after being soaked). Add 6 cups of water.
  4. Cook lentils on high heat until the water starts to boil.
  5. Turn down heat to medium low. Add 2 cups of dry rice and 2 more cups of water.
  6. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Continue to cook on medium low heat until rice has finished cooking.
  8. Turn off stove and allow rice to rest.

Cook Pasta

  1. Boil water.
  2. Add pasta.
  3. Cook pasta until desired firmness.

Fried Onions

  1. Chop 2 medium onions into circles.
  2. Mix with flour.
  3. Fry in oil.
  4. Set aside.

Cooked Red Sauce

  1. Blend 5 tomatoes in a blender. Strain tomatoes into a bowl.
  2. Fry Oil with 1 tsp chili powder and 6 minced garlic cloves.
  3. Add 3 tbsp of tomato paste.
  4. Add 3 tbsp of vinegar.
  5. Add blended tomatoes.
  6. Add 1 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of coriander.

  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Egyptian


  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 696
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 161 mg
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 153 g
  • Fiber: 21 g
  • Protein: 47 g
  • Cholesterol: 19 mg

Keywords: koshary kushari koshari egyptian lentils and rice

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

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Judy April 21, 2020 - 7:53 am

I am really interested in making this recipe! While it looks time consuming, I like how you broke down all the steps. Keep the recipes coming; I’m enjoying learning how to make new dishes that I find in this blog.

Lilian B. April 21, 2020 - 11:59 pm

Thanks Judy Batootie!

Mo April 18, 2020 - 6:55 am

Took a lot of time to make but it was worth it in the end.

Lilian B. April 19, 2020 - 12:00 am

Thanks Mo!


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