When I lived in Cairo, I became familiar with a very popular dish called Kosharie. It is considered the “National dish” of Egypt. It features multiple starches, rice & pasta, along with lentils, a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions.
When leaving my apartment in El Maniel, I would encounter multiple street vendors selling hot Kosharie for pennies. It is a very filling dish, and not difficult to prepare at home, however it does take several pots going on the stove at once to ensure all the elements of the dish can be blended while hot.
I felt the addition of rice AND pasta to be a bit filling for my own palate, and wanted to experiment with some higher protein quinoa. Luckily I had some red quinoa in my pantry and added them to the cooking lentils in the final 15 minutes. It turned out really well. See if you like it too.
3/4 cup french Lentils (du Puy)
3 cups chicken broth (or water)
1 cup macaroni
1/4 cup red lentils
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 onions finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon cooking salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Add lentils and chicken broth to the pot. Add 1 tsp sea salt, and bring to the boil. Cook for 30 mins, and when the lentils are almost cooked (but still have a bit of bite) add the quinoa. Cook for another 15 mins and then drain in sieve. Set aside.
While lentils are cooking make the onions – add 2 tablespoons olive oil and finely chopped onions to pan and fry on medium heat, stirring slowly. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt to onions and add a sprinkle of water if onions get too dry. Set aside when onions are crispy but not burnt.
Make tomato sauce – add can of tomatoes, olive oil, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and garlic to the pan. Simmer on low for 20 mins.
While sauce and onions are frying, bring cook macaroni to package directions adding 1 tablespoon cooking salt to season water.
When every element is prepared, you will layer, macaroni, lentils/quinoa/onions and dab with tomato sauce.