‘Carbs carbs carbs carbs carbs’ Koshari

I’m singing ‘carbs’ to Rihanna’s ‘Work’ if you didn’t get that. Koshari is apparently the national dish of Egypt, and it’s right up my street: pasta and rice, and lentils, and chickpeas, all hanging out together beneath a canopy of spiced tomato sauce, studded with sweet raisins and fresh lemon zest. It’s traditionally topped with dried crispy onions, but I don’t really like onions and don’t have a deep fat fryer anyway. I’ve also added way more veggies and some greens to the sauce to freshen it up a bit. This isn’t exactly traditional, but it’s an absolutely gorgeous and crowd-pleasing dish, which works really well as a packed lunch the next day.

Ready in 40 minutes

Serves 4

THE BASE

  • 100g macaroni pasta
  • 120g dried green lentils
  • 150g rice
  • 1 tin of chickpeas

THE SAUCE

  • Half an onion
  • 1 big carrot or 2 small ones
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A big handful of fresh spinach (you could also use frozen, but defrost it before adding)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried chilli
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 50g raisins or sultanas
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon

METHOD

  • Whizz your carrot and onion in a food processor, or finely chop. Place a large pan on a medium heat with a splash of oil, and add the veg. Fry for about 7-8 minutes until soft and a little golden.
  • Add the spices and chilli and stir over the heat for a minute more, before adding the tinned tomatoes, raisins, and lemon zest (the juice is for later). Simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened, adding a splash of water if it gets too thick.
  • Now you need to cook your rice, lentils and pasta. It’s best to do this according to packet instructions, but FYI, I cooked my pasta separately in salted water for about 8 minutes, and cooked the lentils in a separate pan of salted water for 15 minutes, adding the rice after the first 5 minutes.
  • Once all the lentils, rice and pasta are cooked, add to a large serving dish with the drained chickpeas.
  • Return to your sauce: add in the spinach and lemon juice, and cook for a minute more.
  • Transfer to another serving dish and bring the sauce and carbs to the table, allowing people to scoop up as much deliciousness as they want.
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