Home-style koshary

Home-style koshary

Cairo Kitchen
Jonathan Gregson

Home-style refers to the lentils and rice being cooked together. Traditionally in koshary stores and carts, these are cooked separately, but we find the home version more flavourful as the tastes are all intertwined.

For the base


Quantity Ingredient
50g dried chickpeas
350g brown lentils
130g yellow lentils
500g short-grain rice
250g vermicelli noodles
1 teaspoon ground cumin
125g macaroni pasta

For the fried onions

Quantity Ingredient
150ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
500g tomatoes
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
pinch ground cumin
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
Koshary dakka sauce, to serve
Liquid red chilli, to serve


  1. Soak the chickpeas and the brown lentils in separate bowls in plenty of cold water overnight.
  2. Drain the lentils and chickpeas, rinse under cold water, then place the chickpeas in a pan of unsalted boiling water and simmer until tender.
  3. To make the fried onions, heat the oil until hot and then fry the onion until golden brown. Drain on paper napkins to remove any excess oil and set aside, saving the oil to be used for the next step.
  4. Wash the yellow lentils and the rice three or four times until the starch is removed from the rice and the colour is clear.
  5. In a large pot over a high heat, fry the noodles in the oil used for frying the onion until they reach a golden colour. Add the drained rice and yellow lentils to the noodles. Stir, then add the brown lentils and stir to combine. Add the cumin and salt, to taste, and stir again. Add 1 litre boiling water to the pot and stir. Bring up to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, in a separate pan boil the macaroni in salted water, according to the packet instructions, until tender.
  7. To make the sauce, peel the tomatoes by cutting a cross in the base of each tomato, then plunge briefly into boiling water and slip off the skins when cool enough to handle.
  8. In a pot over a medium heat, fry the garlic in the vegetable oil until golden. Add the peeled tomatoes, cumin, tomato paste, sugar and salt, to taste, and stir frequently, mashing a little, for 20 minutes until you have a tomato purée.
  9. To assemble the koshary, in a deep bowl spoon in the macaroni, then the lentil rice mixture, followed by the tomato sauce, chickpeas and lastly the fried onion.
  10. Season with the dakka and chilli sauces, to taste.
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