Saturday, December 23, 2006

Koshary

I spent about three months in Egypt, Egypt being the first country I visited outside of India,tagged along when DH was there on a project. Thanks to Bollywood every Egyptian had some knowledge of India and its culture. The first question somebody would pose is "Do you know Amitabh Bachaan?". Invariably my answer was yes, the way the query was posed anything other than a yes would automatically disqualify my being an Indian.

We lived in a place called Mohandaseen in Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza were about 5 miles away. I did not miss Indian food for once when I was travelling outside the country. Falafel, fool, Tahini, Pita Bread, Babaghanouj, Koshary were the foods I ate regulary and rarely if ever missed Indian food. The only Indian restaurant I remember visiting is Mena House because the Brits and Americans on the project loved going there. I can't remember how the food tasted. We also visited a Chinese restaurant regularly and the only thing I remember is beer being served in Kettles as Long Island Ice Teas because it was against the law to serve beer or alcohol in restaurants without special permission. On the way to work we would stop by a restaurant called El Amda for some falafel or fool for lunch, falafel being the chickpeas patties served like sandwiches on Pita bread and fool were kidney beans served as sandwiches. But my top of the list favorite was Koshary. The combination of rice,lentils,noodles and tomato sauce made me feel right at home. Though it has been more than 10 years since my visit still miss those days and it is my dream to go back spend atleast couple of months there. Yes ofcourse we visited the Pyramids and they were breath taking for the sheer audacity of human achievement. The places we visited and the historical significance of all the places we visited would take atleast 10 more blog articles which I would not bore you with.

I should also say Shaheen, it was her Stuffed Baby Eggplant which took me down memory lane and reminded me of this dish which I had not cooked for a really long time.

So without further adieu here is the recipe for Koshary.


Recipe Source: Egyptian Cooking, A Practical Guide by Samia Abdennour




Ingredients
1. 1 Cup rice (I used brown rice)
2. 1 Cup of lentils (I used horsegram and Chickpeas)
3. 1/2 Cup of Thai rice noodles (the original recipe calls for macaroni)
4. 1 Onion cut into thin lengthwise strips.
5. 2 Large ripe tomatoes
6. 1/2 tbsp red chilly powder
7. 1 1/2 tsp of oil
8. 1 tsp pepper powder
9. Sal to taste.

Sauce
1. Chop 1/2 a tomato into small pieces
2. Juice rest of the tomatoes in a food processor or blender.
3. In a sauce pan cook the tomatoes with salt and chilly powder.
When the raw smell goes test salt and heat and turn off the heat.

Adding chilly powder is my modification. Usually the chilly powder is sprinkled on top if required.


Method
1. Cook the rice with the required amount of water.
2. Cook the lentils and keep aside
3. Cook the noodles or macaroni following directions on the package
4. In a pan heat the oil and saute the onion till brown with salt and pepper powder (optional). The original recipe and the ones I tasted use fried onions.
4. Remove the onions, keep aside and add the lentils and fry adding salt and chilly powder.




Serving
1. Add a layer of rice, add the lentils on top.
2. Add a handful of noodles and drizzle liberally with tomato sauce.
3. Top with the fried onions.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


7 comments:

  1. priya S&S12/23/06, 8:43 PM

    Seems to be easy and quite filling too !

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Indo !

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow Indo, liked reading about your Egyptian food trip :)

    Great looking dish and nice name too
    Happy Holidays to you and your family

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Indo, I posted a comment yesterday, where did it go ?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi ISG,
    It is perfect meal. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishing you and your family Happy new year 2007

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  5. hey there ..sounds delcious ..

    just dropped by to say hello ..hope u and your family are having a good holiday season

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have this loooong desire to visit egypt and ur post just makes me yearn more. lucky!When I first saw this post, it didn't catch my attention but yesterday my egyptian friend had got this for lunch!I found it good but very bland. Weren't u tempted to add some spice?

    ReplyDelete
  7. shaheen I did add 1/2 tbsp chilly powder and pepper to the lentils, yup the original is too bland for my taste too. Back there they sprinkle paprika I think on top which is just not enough for me, I used to add hot sauce to it.

    ReplyDelete

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