Egyptian Kushari - Pasta, Lentils, and Rice Recipe
This filling Egyptian recipe is made of rice, pasta, and lentils mixed with spiced tomato and cumin sauce, then layered with tender chickpeas and crispy onions! It's an easy and delicious side or a main vegan entree.
Pat dry the sliced onion with paper towels to remove the excess humidity.
In a bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch. Toss in the onions to coat evenly.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onion slices; cook until crisp, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir often to cook evenly and to prevent from burning.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper towel, reserving the oil; set onions aside.
Rinse and cook the rice in a saucepan according to the package directions. When cooked, stir in 1 tablespoon of the "onion oil" (it gives the grains shine and taste), and set aside.
Meanwhile, rinse the brown lentils under cold water and add them to another medium saucepan with 3 cups of hot water. Add the cumin, coriander, garlic, and bay leaf and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Once cooked, add the salt and stir to combine. Strain any excess liquid if necessary. Discard the bay leaf and garlic, then stir in 1 tablespoon of "onion oil."
While the rice and lentils cook, cook the elbow macaroni in enough salty water until al dente, according to the directions on the package; drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of "onion oil."
In a medium saucepan, add "onion oil," garlic, coriander, and crushed red pepper flakes; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add vinegar, tomato sauce, water, and salt, then stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, sauté garlic and cumin together until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add vinegar, water, and salt to taste. Set aside.
Right before serving, place drained chickpeas in a microwave-safe dish and warm through.
Layer the rice, lentils, pasta, tomato sauce, cumin sauce, and chickpeas into a large serving bowl; sprinkle with fried onions. *Check out alternative ways of serving in the post above.
Cook your crispy fried onions first, and do not dispose of the oil used. This "onion oil" will be used for the other ingredient groups later on.
Use short-grain rice and follow the package instructions for the rice to water ratio and average cooking time.
If you are using dry chickpeas, make sure to prepare them ahead of time. Soak in cold water overnight for the best results.
The most common pasta used for this recipe is elbow macaroni, but you can also use Ditalini or Tubettini. You can also mix in other pasta shapes, typically vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into pieces.
Add a pinch of sugar to the tomato sauce to balance out the acidity.
If you soak the rice for 15 minutes before cooking, it will make it fluffy. If using Basmati, the rice water ratio is 1:2; otherwise, follow package instructions.
Read the post for helpful notes on ingredients, variations, and serving suggestions.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used and serving size.