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(Egypt / 4 servings/ all seasons/ 120 minutes)

Sauce pan
Large pot
Large skillet
Wooden spoon

2 cups rice
400 gm small sized pasta
1 cup brown lentils, soaked in water
5 onions, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
3 tbsp white vinegar
4 tomatoes
½ cup tomato paste
2½ tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Food Groups Present in the Recipe
Cereals: Rice, Pasta
Vegetables: Onions, garlic
Fruits: Tomatoes
Legume: Lentils
Herbs and spices: Cumin
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice; continue stirring until rice is coated with oil, about 3 minutes. Add 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the macaroni uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well in a colander. Return macaroni to cooking pot, cover and keep warm.
Soak lentils for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse; drain again. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a pot and stir in lentils. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are tender 15 or 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions in the oil, stirring often, until they begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Onions should be a nice caramelized brown color. Add garlic and cook another minute. Remove from pan, drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Place half of the onion mixture into a saucepan. Mix in the vinegar. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, black pepper, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and cumin. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 12 minutes.

Kid’s participation
Suggest, always at the discretion of the parent or responsible adult and depending on age, the child to wash the tomatoes and pour the lentils in the soaking water.

Serve by placing a spoonful of rice, then macaroni, and then the lentils on serving plates. Sprinkle with some of the caramelized onions, then top with tomato sauce. Chickpeas can also be used for garnish.

Nutritional & cultural curiosities
Kushari originated in the mid 19th century, during a time when Egypt was a multi-cultural country and the economy was booming. The lower-class' usually limited pantry became full with a myriad of ingredients: lentils, rice, pasta, chickpeas, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, oil, etc. At the end of the month, families would usually have a little left of everything, so families would use it up by putting it all together into a tasty, moreish dish. The pioneer that first put this dish together is unknown, but the popularity of this "end of the month" dish spread like wildfire between workers and laborers. It may be prepared at home or served at roadside stalls and restaurants all over Egypt. It is most usually served as a vegetarian dish.

Useful tip
To save time, you can prepare the lentils the day before and reheat before serving.

Publish date 14/04/2014 17:06
Last updated 14/04/2014 17:09