How to Make Koushari – Vegetarian Lentils, Rice, and Pasta with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,686
    Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to make koushari.

    Amy Riolo: Hi! I am Amy Riolo. Today, I am working in the kitchen at Sur La Table in Arlington, Virginia. I am teaching you how to make Egyptian recipes. The recipe which we are making right now is called Kushari.

    The ingredients which we will need to make this recipe are 1 cup black or brown lentils which have been sorted and rinsed, 3 tablespoons expeller-pressed corn oil or extra virgin olive oil, 2 medium yellow onions, one which has been diced and the other has been sliced, 6 cloves of garlic which are minced, 2 cups of tomato puree, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon cumin, teaspoon chilly powder or crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar, 1 cup Egyptian or other medium or short grain rice, cup elbow macaroni or penne pasta and 1 cup chickpeas which have been rinsed and drained. The tools which we will need are 4 medium and small saucepans, one of which will need a lid, 1 medium sized skillet, spoons and a colander.

    So the first thing that we are going to do is boil water to make our lentils. So I have a little pot of water here that's coming up to a boil on high heat. Then we are going to add our lentils. Now these are brown lentils and these are the ones that are the easiest to find in the United Sates, but you can also get black lentils, if you are lucky enough to find them at an Indian or a Mediterranean store. If not, just go ahead and substitute these brown ones.

    Now lentils are a great ingredient for vegetarians because they have so much protein in them, that they are really a wonderful source of protein. They date back to antiquity in Egypt. Actually, Egypt was one of the main exporters of lentils in antiquity, which that doesnt sound very impressive right now, but in those days lentils were as valuable as gold. So it was impressive back then.

    I am just going to add a little bit of salt to our water. I am going to stir everything together. I am just going to let the lentils come up to a boil. As soon as they come up to boil, which they are doing right now, we can just lower our heat to about medium or medium-low, leave them uncovered. We will let them simmer for 20-30 minutes or until they are tender.

    What I would like to do when I make lentils is I double the quantity that I am going to need and then keep half on hand, so that I can add them to salads, you can scatter them on top or do a variety of different things with them. Especially for vegetarians, they are great to have on hand in the refrigerator. If they are already cooked, you just save yourself that much time. So now, we will let our lentils cook. When we come back, I am going to show you how to make our spicy tomato sauce.