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KOSHARI – KOSHARY – KUSHARY

KOSHARI – KOSHARY – KUSHARY

Two weeks ago, I remembered something I’ve eaten about 4 years ago, and since then could think of nothing else. I could not even remember what it was called, nor what it tasted like, just that it was delicious. 😄

Thankfully we have Google, and I found the recipe. This is definitely not for people on high protein / low carbs / Banting. 😳

I’ve watched about 20 YouTube videos to get the recipe, but as with melktert, bobotie and pancakes, all the recipes differ and each one claims to be the best you’ll ever eat. 🙄

It is basically layers of pasta, rice and lentils, topped with a spicy tomato sauce, fried onions, chickpeas and lastly, what they call a white sauce.

All the recipes are more or less the same, but some say short grain rice, the next one long grain, some use macaroni, others use spaghetti, and some use vermicelli to mix with the rice. One even cooked everything together, but that looked too mushy to me. The spices also differ, but cumin seems to occur in most.

So, I took from every recipe what I liked and did this.

ONION
Slice an onion and fry in 1 cup of oil till quite dark and sort of crispy. Take out of the oil, but do not discard the oil.

PASTA
Cook 1 cup of pasta (I used macaroni) as you normally would, and once it is done, drain and add some of the onion-flavoured oil.

RICE
Fry 1 cup of rice in oil (some say to rinse the rice first, which I usually don’t) together with 1/2 a tbsp each cumin, coriander and cardamom. Add water, salt, black pepper and a cinnamon stick and cook till done. They use ground cardamom, but I could not find that, and since I’ve already previously destroyed my pepper grinder trying to grind the pods, I used them whole. TIP! Count them when you add them, so that you can be sure you take them all out again. Biting on a cardamom pod is not a nice experience. Trust me. This is now where some recipes fry vermicelli first, before they add the rice, which I did not do. The vermicelli is an addition, not in stead of the other pasta. Oh, and I used Tastic’s brown and wild rice, because that’s what I had in the cupboard.

LENTILS
Rinse ½ a cup of lentils and then cook in water with the same spices you used for the rice, except the cinnamon. Some use green lentils, other brown, so, whatever you can find. Just cook till soft, not mushy.

CHICKPEAS
For the chickpeas I used a tin, because that was all I could find. One recipe roasts them till crispy in a pan with cumin, turmeric and black pepper. I also did, but the tinned ones did not become crispy. Others simply use them straight from the tin, so roasting them is optional, I guess.

TOMATO SAUCE
Now THIS is where the recipes really differ. Most use a tin of tomato sauce, but I opted for fresh tomatoes. You can add any or all of the following spices to your taste: cumin, coriander, garlic, chillie, salt, white pepper, bay leaf, fresh nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom. I don’t even know what I added and how much. Just taste till you have a good tomato sauce you like. Most of them also add a bit of vinegar. One video only fried garlic, added the tin of tomato sauce, salt pepper and vinegar. But I wanted a more spicy version.

WHITE SAUCE
The first few videos I watched did not have this, but it adds a lot of flavour to the dish, so don’t leave it out.

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • ¼ tablespoon cumin
  • ¼ tablespoon coriander
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅛ tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ to ¾ cup water

Mix everything together well and set aside. Mix again before serving.

AND FINALLY DISHING UP!
Again, they all differ on the order in which the layers should be, but I put the pasta at the bottom, then the rice, lentils, tomato sauce, chickpeas and fried onions. Lastly pour over some of the white sauce.

This seems like a lot of trouble, but it is not really. While everything is cooking away at its own time, you do the ones that require your attention, like the fried onions and tomato sauce.

Perfect for meatless Mondays, enjoy!

Recipe and photo: Marlize Willemse

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