Egyptian Koshari and Home Made Baharat

Koshari is the national dish of Egypt that mixes lentil, rice, small macaroni noodles, a spicy tomato sauce, topped with fried onions and chick peas.  This is another dish for the International Year of Pulses. The tomato sauce is made with a spice blend called Baharat and this gives the dish its amazing flavour.

Egyptian Koshari



  • 1 cup of medium grain rice
  • 1tblsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp stock powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 2 tsp Baharat (see below for home made recipe)
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tblsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 cups small macaroni pasta like elbow or other small pasta
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 Tblsp salt

Crisp Fried Onions:

  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Chick peas:

  • 1 can of chick peas, drained



  1. Place olive oil in pan and heat on medium
  2. Put in the rice and stir  to toast the grains for 5 minutes or till lightly coloured
  3. Dissolve the stock powder, salt and pepper into the water and add to the rice
  4. Stir in well, bring to the boil and then turn the heat to the lowest setting.
  5. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes till cooked and then set aside, the grains should separate well.


  1. Place lentils in a broad sieve and remove any small stones or other impurities
  2. Rinse the lentils under cold water, washing them well
  3. Using a  medium saucepan, add the washed lentils with 2 cups of water.
  4. Add the garlic, cumin and bay leaf and bring the lentils to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. When cooked, add the salt and stir to combine.
  7. Strain any excess liquid if necessary.

Tomato Sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown, for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato puree, Baharat, salt and pepper, chile flakes (if using) and red wine vinegar.
  5. Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Check occasionally and add a little water if the sauce is drying out too much


  1. Prepare the macaroni last so that the pasta is warm and will not stick together
  2. Bring the water to the boil and add the salt, dissolving it
  3. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente
  4. When cooked, drain and combine with the other ingredients to make up the Koshari

Crisp Fried Onions:

  1. Heat the oil in a small frypan.
  2. Add the onions and fry until dark brown.
  3. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain and cool.

Making up the Koshari:

  1. Add the rice, lentils and macaroni to a large bowl and toss to combine
  2. Place a little of the spicy tomato sauce on top .
  3. Sprinkle over with chick peas, the crispy onions and sprinkle over a little of the Baharat spice.
  4. Serve warm.


Making your own Baharat spice:


  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Heat a small fry pan over medium-high heat
  2. Dry roast the whole seeds ( but not the the allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg) until they become very fragrant, about 3-5 minutes, tossing regularly to prevent the seeds burning.
  3. Transfer them immediately to a bowl and allow them to cool completely before grinding them with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder with the allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Place in a jar and with the lid open for an hour to allow the mix to cool down well
  5. Seal the airtight glass jar and store in a cool dark place.

IMG_20160404_140133-baharat grinding


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