Cook's Hideout: Egypt - Koshari (Vegetarian Rice, Lentil & Vermicelli Dish)

September 05, 2014

Egypt - Koshari (Vegetarian Rice, Lentil & Vermicelli Dish)

BM# 44: A-Z Cooking Series -- Around the World in 30 days
Country: E for Egypt
Dish: Koshari (Vegetarian Rice & Lentil Dish)
We are going to the northeast corner of Africa to Egypt today. Except for an ex-colleague, I don't know many people who have visited Egypt. But it is probably one of the countries that will be on my bucket list. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the 10th millennium BC as one of the world's first nation states. Egypt's rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, having endured and often assimilated various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman and so on. Egyptian Pyramids reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest all over the world.
Egyptian Cuisine is mostly based on foods that grow out of the ground, which is good news to vegetarians. Meat has been very expensive for most Egyptians throughout the history, so a great number of vegetarian dishes have been developed. It is interesting to know that the Archaeological excavations in Egypt revealed that workers on the Great Pyramids of Giza were paid in bread, beer and onions, a customary diet as peasants in the Egyptian country side.
Koshari (Vegetarian Rice & Lentil Dish)
There is a whole list of amazing vegetarian dishes in Egyptian cuisine and I picked Koshari -- a mixture of rice, lentils and macaroni/ noodles for today. Some people consider it to be the national dish of Egypt. I wanted to make this dish from one of the cookbooks 'Cooking Light way to cook vegetarian' long time back. It's not until recently I got a chance to try it out.
It is a simple, but filling dish. It has rice, lentils and vermicelli/ macaroni cooked together and served with creamy caramelized onions and spicy-sweet tomato sauce. It is a little time consuming dish to make, but it is well worth the effort and tastes amazing with different layers of flavors. Both my kids absolutely loved it and I'm sure I'll be making this dish very often now. 
Koshari (Vegetarian Rice & Lentil Dish)
Ingredients: Serves 2~3
For Koshari:
Hot cooked Rice Long grain rice - 1¼cups
Dried Lentils or Yellow Split Peas - 2/3 cup
Vermicelli - ¼cup, broken into 1" pieces
Onions - 2 large, thinly sliced

For the Tomato Sauce:
Onion - ½cup, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely minced
Crushed Red Pepper - ¼tsp
Diced Tomatoes - 14.5oz can
Salt & Pepper - to taste


  • Prepare the Tomato Sauce: Heat 2tsp extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook till it turns golden, stirring occasionally, about 8~10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1~2 minutes. 
  • Stir in tomatoes along with their juice, salt, pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until slightly thick. Puree the tomato mixture using an immersion blender or the regular blender until smooth. Keep warm.
  • Prepare Caramelized Onions: Heat 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook for 12~15 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove onion with a slotted spoon onto paper towel lined plate; set aside.
  • Prepare Koshari: In the same pan, on medium heat, add vermicelli and saute for 2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 2½~3 cups of water and lentils; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Remove from heat, add vermicelli, stirring well to combine. Wrap a kitchen towel around lid, and cover lentil mixture; let stand for 10 minutes or until vermicelli is tender.
  • Add the cooked rice and salt to taste to the lentil mixture; fluff with fork.
  • Serve immediately with tomato sauce and caramelized onions.


  1. What a delicious meal Pavani, it's so nice to know we do get dishes that we vegetarians can eat..:)

  2. The vermicelli with the rice has always surprised me. Should try it soon. The whole platter looks awesome. Your pictures are always so good.

  3. This is an interesting rice dish, noodles in rice! It looks good. I love such one pot meals and must have taste awesome with the tomato sauce.

  4. I noticed it for the first time when national foods was one of the themes for earlier BMs. I assumed it was a rice, lentil and macaroni hotchpotch and wasn't sure anyone at home would like it. Your version and presentation are appealing.

  5. Very interesting combination of ingredients. Very filling one too.

  6. on my bucket list as well but then i have the entire world in there...this one is elaborate preparation...looks lovely

  7. I too chose this dish but couldn't found vermicelli here . Your kosheri looks tempting !

  8. Koshari, the national dish of Egypt looks prefect and delicious one pot meal, who cant resist to it.

  9. loved this so much when I made it for previous BM theme - have to try the vermicelli version as I had used macaroni

  10. wow koshari looks very tempting and love the combo of rice and vermicelli to it :) am enjoying the marathon completely , Another new dish learned :) fantastic presentation as well dear !!

  11. Egypt is one of my favorite countries and it tops the list of countries I want to visit. This dish looks so good and as Suma mentioned I too was not sure how it would taste so skipped making it the previous time we had International theme.Your clicks look so tempting Pavani..

  12. Wow this dish looks so interesting with so many the way you present the food..anybody would be tempted to fig in..Fantastic choice for the alphabet.

  13. Love your presentation pavani! ! Rice, vermicelli & lentils all in one dish, musy try this once, your plating makes it more tempting!

  14. Wow Pavani I too made Koshari but yours is making me drool. Love it.

  15. This seems very interesting - the rice and vermicelli combination. Got to try it. Love how you've plated it too

  16. The pairing of vermicelli and rice looks quite interesting. As usual amazing presentation..

  17. Very interesting combo of ingredients.. Rice with vermicelli sounds interesting.


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