Kushari or Koshari rice (رز كشري) is an Egyptian rice dish that is mixed with brown lentils, macaroni, & rice, and it is garnished with fried brown onions. It is also served with tomato garlic sauce to add a better flavor to the dish.
Koshari is is considered a national dish of Egypt, which is a popular street food among locals. In Kuwait, there are big population of Egyptian expatriates living there, which they brought their food and culture.
While I was living in Kuwait, I have a very close Egyptian friends, who were my neighbor. One time, they invited me their place, which they make many delicious Egyptian foods. Two of my most favorite Egyptian dish I tried in their place is the Chicken Mololkhia and Koshari Rice, which in this post will be talking about the rice.
What is Koshari?
It is an Egyptian rice dish that is mixed with macaroni, rice, and lentils. Furthermore, it is garnished with brown fried onions, which is topped with tomato garlic sauce. The Egyptian sauce is much different than the tomato sauce called Daqoos from Gulf Arab since it has vinegar & cumin.
The rice does not have overwhelming spices like other Middle Eastern or Indian dishes. But, it is very delicious and flavorful, which the best part, it is a vegan-friendly dish. The fried onion is what adds up the flavor of the koshari, which makes it tasty.
Because I love this rice dish, I will show you my version of this delicious Kushari rice recipe.
Recipe Ingredients for the Rice
The ingredient that I have to make the Koshari Rice doesn't involve much.
Firstly, I am using long-grain white rice for this dish. You can use medium-grain rice if you want, but make sure it is not short grain. The short-grain will make the rice sticky.
Secondly, I am using brown lentils and macaroni when mixing with rice. But before mixing them, make sure each of them is cooked ahead.
Lastly, I fried my red onion till it turns brown to garnish my rice. The fried onion enhances the flavor of my kushary rice dish.
Recipe Ingredient of the Sauce
The tomato garlic sauce is an important condiment when serving with the Koshari rice. You can serve the sauce separately, or you can top it directly on the rice.
Below are the recipe ingredients to make this sauce:
Firstly, there are two major spices when I made this tomato garlic sauce- The cumin and coriander powder. Secondly, the vinegar will give the mild sourness of the sauce, while the tomato paste & fresh tomatoes will make the sauce red.
Thirdly, the garlic will give a nice garlicky flavor to the tomato sauce, which is the main dominant flavor. I cook them using extra virgin olive oil, which tastes way better than other vegetable oils.
Note: If you want to make the tomato sauce spicy, you can add red chili or jalapeno pepper.
Things to do first before cooking the rice
Before you start cooking the Koshari rice, you should cook the brown lentils and macaroni ahead. Make sure you drain them first before you will put them in the rice. That way, you could finish fast.
Also, don't throw away the stock from the lentils and keep it aside. That is because you will use it, in addition to the water, to cook the rice. The stock from lentils will add up the flavor of the rice.
Lastly, make sure you fry or brown the onion ahead and keep it aside. When you are done cooking the Koshari rice, you will garnish it with the fried brown onion. To me, this is one of the main ingredients to intensify the flavor of the rice. Without the onion, the rice will taste bland.
How to Cook the Rice?
Once you prepare and cook the lentil, brown onion, and the macaroni pasta, making the koshari rice is very easy and straight forward.
Firstly, add olive oil to the cooking pot. Once the oil is hot, add the uncooked rice to the pot and give a stir. Next, add the cooked drained brown lentil, and stir to mix for 30 seconds.
Add the stocks from the cooked lentil and water in the rice pot. Let the rice boil in high heat.
During boiling, once there is less water, reduce the fire to low heat. Cover the pot and let it cook for 10 to 15 more minutes or till the rice looks soft and cooked. Lastly, add the macaroni pasta to the rice pot and stir to mix.
While serving the koshari rice on a plate, garnish it with the fried brown onion, and serve it with the tomato garlic sauce.
Note: Make sure you soak the rice for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking them to reduce the starch and prevent having sticky rice.
How to make the Tomato Garlic Sauce?
The spiced tomato garlic sauce is very condiment when serving with the rice. Without the sauce, you will notice something is missing.
To make the sauce, add olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add chopped garlic and give a stir for a minute or till the garlic started to become a little brown. Not too brown like burned.
Add the blended tomato juice and tomato paste into the pan. Stir to mix. Next, add the spices, salt, black pepper, and vinegar, and give one more stir until it is fully mixed.
Note: Before making the sauce, I first blended my fresh tomatoes with water in a blender. It will make things easier, and you can cook the sauce faster. However, if you don't have a blender, then this is optional.
If you want to add protein to your dish, this Egyptian rice is best to serve with roasted or grilled meat like chicken or dish. They blend well along with the tomato sauce.
Furthermore, I like to serve my rice with my Mediterranean Shepherd Salad or Arabic Salad. In Arabic cuisines, every rice dish comes with a salad.
Absolutely. When you cook the koshary, you can keep it in the refrigerator for later use. But, do take note that storing in the fridge is good for just 7 days.
It is best to use medium or long grain rice. Do not use short-grain rice since they will make your rice sticky.
Also, to prevent having sticky rice in your long-grain or medium-grain rice, soak them in water for 15 to 30 minutes.
If you don't have a blender, you can skip the fresh tomatoes and tomato paste, and instead, use ready made tomato sauce.
In some koshari rice recipes, others like to add chickpeas, which is a rich plant-based protein. You can use canned or freshly cooked chickpeas or whatever you like. To me, I don't add them to my rice, but you can if you want to.
📋 Recipe Card
For Fried brown onion
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- 2 medium chopped red onion
- 1 cup of medium or long grain rice (soaked and drained for 15-30 minutes)
- 1 cup of brown lentils (cooked and drained)
- 1 cup of macaroni pasta (cooked and drained)
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 cup of water
- 1.5 cup of lentil broth
- Salt and Black Pepper for taste
For spiced tomato sauce
- 2 Large Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon of coriander powder
- Salt and Black pepper for Taste
To make the Fried onion
- Add vegetable oil in the pan
- Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion.
- Let it fry till the onion turns brown. DO NOT overcook the onion.
To make the Tomato Garlic Sauce
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add chopped garlic. Give a stir till it looks almost brown
- Add the blended tomato juice and the tomato paste in the pan. Stir to mix
- Add the coriander, cumin, salt, black pepper, vinegar. Mix well until it is done.
- Serve with the rice
To make the Kushari Rice
- Add olive in the pot. Once the oil is hot, add the rice. Stir for a minute
- Add the cooked brown lentil. Stir to mix
- Pour the water and broth/soup from the cooked lentil. Add salt and black pepper. Bring it to boil
- During boiling, when the water is almost absorbed, adjust fire to low heat.
- Cover the pot and let it cook for additional 10 to 15 minutes or till the rice is soft and cooked
- Add the cooked macaroni pasta above the rice. Stir to mix before turning off the cooking gas.
- While serving the rice on a plate, garnish it with fried brown onion and serve it with tomato garlic sauce.
Other Middle Eastern Rice Recipes
Here are other delicious Middle Eastern rice dish to try: