The national dish of Egypt, and sold from street carts throughout the land, koshari – with two types of pasta, rice and lentils – is a carb lover’s dream. SALT magazine tried and tested the recipe from MasterChef: Street Food of The World cookbook.

By SALT Magazine | 14 August, 2017 | Food, Recipe
2017-08-14 16:24:48 2017-10-11 10:20:51
MasterChef Street Food of the World: Koshari, tried and tested by SALT team
MasterChef Street Food of the World: Koshari, tried and tested by SALT team



PREP TIME: 2 hours | TOTAL TIME: 3 hours

200g basmati rice
200g brown or green lentils
100g dried macaroni
6 tbsp olive oil
3 large onions, finely sliced
75g rice vermicelli, broken into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
500ml chicken or vegetable stock, or water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped coriander, to garnish

for the tomato sauce

1 tbsp cumin seeds
1–2 tsp dried chilli flakes, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp vinegar (red wine, cider or sherry)
1 tsp granulated sugar

  • Soak the basmati rice in cold water for an hour.
  • For the tomato sauce, place the cumin seeds and chilli in a large saucepan and set over a medium-high heat. As soon as the spices smell toasty and aromatic – after a minute or so – pour in the oil, garlic and tomatoes, along with 350ml water, the vinegar and the sugar. Season well with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes until thick and rich.
  • Add the lentils to a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until just tender but not mushy, about 20–25 minutes. Drain and set aside. Add the macaroni to a saucepan, pour over boiling water to cover it generously and boil until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Set a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the oil and sliced onions and fry gently until a deep golden brown, at least 30–40 minutes. Stir every now and then to ensure even cooking, and more frequently towards the end of the cooking time. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the onions into a dish, leaving as much oil in the pan as you can. Set the onions aside.
  • Add the vermicelli to the pan, stir frying until golden, about 3 minutes or so. Then add the cumin and cinnamon along with the drained rice, stirring well to coat it in the oil. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or snugly tucked-in piece of foil, and cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave undisturbed (no peeking under the lid) for a further 10 minutes. Remove the lid and lightly fork through the cooked lentils and macaroni. Taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more if necessary.
  • Serve the koshari hot or warm with the warmed tomato sauce on top, scattered with the fried onions and a generous handful of coriander.
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MasterChef Street Food of the World by Genevieve Taylor

Recipe taken from MasterChef Street Food of the World, published by Bloomsbury, £26, Hardback Photography © David Loftus. Purchase the book here. 

For the full review, download our August/September 2017 issue! Meanwhile, here are the other dishes from the book that we tested.

SALT Magazine
The SALT Team is dedicated to bring out the best in food journalism, with culinary prose, evocative photo-essays, and inspiring reads from people who work behind the scenes. Our online portal carries the latest on food and drinks in the region, with an injection of a fresh new spirit to food content and an offbeat attitude.

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