Egyptian Koshari Recipe

4.84 from 6 votes

This Koshari recipe, also known as Egypt’s national dish, is a comforting meal featuring pasta, rice, lentils, and a yummy chickpea tomato sauce and is topped with tons of crispy onions. Switch up your meatless Monday menu and serve this filling and hearty meal!

Egypt's national dish, koshari, on white serving platter

I’ve experimented with Egyptian cuisine in the past (like Egyptian dukkah and basbousa), but this is my first foray into a truly savory main dish. It came out so good that I knew I needed to share this koshari recipe with you all. It’s hearty, filling, and definitely comforting. 

Egyptian dishes boast warm flavors and a wide array of textures. This meal, in particular, is such a well-loved comfort food that it’s been deemed Egypt’s national dish! Featuring layer upon layer of flavorful ingredients it tastes — and looks — super impressive. I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do.

Koshari

Cuisine: Egyptian

map of Egypt and Middle East

Alternate names/spellings: Koshary, kushari

Preparation: Stove top

Difficulty: Easy 🥄

Description: Beautifully presented side dish or entree with layers of rice, lentils and macaroni noodles covered in baharat spiced tomato sauce with chickpeas and a topping of crispy fried onions.

close up image of Egyptian koshari on white serving platter

INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Yellow Onions – The cherry on top of this koshari recipe is the layer of crispy onions that sits on the pasta, rice, and lentils.
  • All-Purpose Flour – To dredge your onions in before frying.
  • Vegetable Oil – Use your preferred oil to fry the onions. You’ll also need it for the sauce.
  • Basmati Rice – I always opt for Basmati rice for its delicate nutty and floral flavors.
  • Lentils – Use green or brown lentils. Make sure to rinse well to remove any debris.
  • Baharat Spice Blend – You’ll need it for the rice, lentils, and tomato and chickpea sauce. I love my homemade version
  • Elbow Macaroni – This variety of pasta is the perfect size for this dish!
  • Tomato Passata – For the tomato chickpea sauce. Regular tomato sauce is a great substitute.
  • Chickpeas – An excellent source of protein, chickpeas work wonderfully in the tomato sauce.
  • Kosher Salt – For boiling and added flavor.
  • Garlic – For your sauce!
  • Red Wine Vinegar – I love the extra flavor this ingredient brings to the tomato and chickpea sauce. You can also use red grape vinegar instead.
  • Fresh Parsley – For a pop of flavor and color.
  • Shatta Sauce – For serving! Don’t miss my homemade version.
  • Garlic Sauce (Toum) – Also for serving. Check out my recipe here.
overhead: dishes of ingredients to make Egypt's national dish, koshary

Video: Making Koshari

Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of the post for step-by-step instructions on how to make this recipe. You’ll also see how to plate it for a gorgeous presentation!

HOW TO MAKE EGYPTIAN KOSHARI RECIPE

  1. Make the Crispy Onions. Place a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat and add your vegetable oil. Toss the thinly sliced onions with flour in a large bowl, then fry the onions until they become dark golden brown. Work in batches for best results and allow them to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Make the Rice. After rinsing the rice, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and 1 tablespoon of baharat spice blend, stir, and cover. Lower the heat and allow the rice to cook for 18 minutes, then set aside.
  3. Cook the Lentils. In a separate saucepan, bring salted water to boil with a teaspoon of baharat spice blend. Pour in the lentils and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Make the Macaroni. Boil the elbow pasta in salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  5. Prepare the Sauce. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute, then pour in the tomato passata, salt, remaining baharat spice blend, and cooked chickpeas. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes (partially covered). Stir in the red wine vinegar and parsley and set aside.
  6. Assemble. To layer your koshari as pictured, place half of the crispy onions on the bottom of the bowl. Then, add the tomato and chickpea mixture, cooked macaroni, lentils, and rice — in that order. Gently press down with a spatula to ensure that the layers remain intact when flipped.
  7. Flip the Bowl. Place a large plate or platter on top of the bowl and carefully (and confidently!) flip the bowl away from you so that the platter is on the bottom and the bowl is upside down. Your koshari should release itself on its own. Top with more crispy onions and chopped parsley, then serve with shatta and toum sauces. 
side view of Middle Eastern rice, lentil and pasta side dish, koshari

Serving Koshari

If you have experience turning cakes out onto a platter, plating the koshary should be very easy for you.  If not, don’t worry, it’s not difficult, but I recommend watching the video in the recipe card to see exactly how it’s done.

  1. Layer the ingredients into a large bowl, then use your hands to gently press down and compact them.
  2. Place a platter upside down over the top of the bowl.
  3. Invert the plate. Hold the bottom of the bowl in one hand and place your other hand on top of the plate. Then, invert it so that the platter is on the bottom and the bowl is on top.
  4. Remove the bowl. Gently lift the bowl off of the koshari and then garnish the top with fried onions.

Other than some oprional condiments like pickled lemon and shatta hot sauce, there isn’t much else you’ll need to serve with this carb and calorie laden delight. Bring your appetite!

cooked basmati rice, brown lentils, and macaroni covered in tomato sauce with crispy fried onions on top

What Country Made Koshari?

As I mentioned, this koshari recipe is Egypt’s national dish! It’s often enjoyed at home or as street food. Made with pasta, rice, lentils, chickpeas, and a tomato and garlic sauce, it’s a carb lovers’ dream!

Why Is Koshari So Popular?

There are many reasons why this koshari recipe is so popular: it’s hearty, filling, and full of delicious flavors. The baharat spice mix adds much, and it truly is a mixture of many different cultures and cuisines. It’s also very inexpensive to make!

Do I Have to Create The Different Layers?

You don’t have to layer the different ingredients as shown — you can simply combine the lentils, macaroni, rice, and tomato chickpea sauce (much like a pasta salad), then serve with the crispy onions on top.

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Egypt's national dish, koshari, on white serving platter

Egyptian Koshari Recipe + Video

4.84 from 6 votes
Egypt’s national dish, this koshari recipe makes a comforting meal of pasta, rice, lentils, and crispy onions with a garlic tomato sauce.
Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Ingredients 

Crispy Onions

  • 2 large yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Koshari

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp Baharat Spice Blend divided (See Note 2)
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups tomato passata/sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 15 oz cooked chickpeas rinsed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or red grape vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley minced

Serve with Optional

Instructions 

Crispy Onions

  • In a large, deep sided skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  • In a large bowl toss the thinly sliced onions with the flour. Working in batches, fry onions until a dark golden brown. Drain on paper towel lined plate. Season with salt and repeat with remaining onions. Set aside.

Koshari

  • Rice: Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold water until water runs clear. In a saucepan bring 1 1/2 cups water and a teaspoon of kosher salt to a boil. Add rice, 1 tablespoon Baharat Spice Blend, stir and cover. Bring heat to low and cook 18 minutes. Set aside.
  • Lentils: In a saucepan bring 4 cups water and a teaspoon each of kosher salt and Baharat Spice Blend to a boil. Add lentils and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Macaroni: In a saucepan bring 3 cups water and a teaspoon of kosher salt to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Tomato Sauce Chickpeas: In a saucepan over medium heat add the oil. Saute the garlic for 1 minute and add the tomato passata/sauce, salt, remaining 2 teaspoons Baharat Spice Blend and cooked chickpeas. Turn heat to low and simmer 10 minutes covered partially. Stir in the red wine vinegar and parsley. Set aide.

Assembly

  • Options are to layer for great presentation OR mix all together reserving crispy onions to go on top.
  • For Layered Presentation: In a large bowl transfer half of the crispy onions and place on bottom of bowl. Top with the Tomato Chickpea mixture, then the cooked elbow macaroni, then the cooked lentils, and finally the last layer is the cooked basmati rice. Gently press down with spatula to firm up the koshari for presentation when flipped.
  • Cover the bowl with a large plate or platter (larger than bowl width). Carefully and confidently grab each side, holding both plate and bowl sides and flip away from you and firmly shake and place plate side down on counter top. The koshari should release itself. Top with more crispy onions, chopped parsley and enjoy. Serve with hot sauce (Shatta) and garlic sauce (Toum).

Video

Notes

I make my own Baharat Spice Blend, which I highly recommend, but if you need a quick version (not complete) this mixture is a good start and enough for this recipe.
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Nutrition

Calories: 817kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Sodium: 829mg | Potassium: 949mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 6mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: main dishes, side dishes
Cuisine: Egyptian, Middle Eastern
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image shows close up of Egyptian koshari

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating




14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and especially with the Shatta sauce from your recommendations. I have no idea why this particular combination of layers and flavors is so delicious but it is! Probably the best vegan dish I’ve ever had. To make it easier I use the steamed lentils from Trader Joes which are perfect as is. I’ve made it 3 times and everyone raved about how good it was.

  2. 5 stars
    This was fabulous! You can prepare the sauces and several layers in advance, and heat them up before layering in a bowl and flipping over. Such great flavor!

  3. 5 stars
    I accidentally perfected it guys. At fast I was worried because I didn’t put the bahati spice as directed. So I ended up doing my own order by putting the spices in the rice. For the tomato sauce, I didn’t put in the chickpeas, I made it separately everyone served to their plates. I made the tomato sauce with olive oil,garlic, tomato sauce, bahati spice and ACV instead of wine vinegar

  4. I think I messed up real bad, I needed to double the recipe. So I did. Spice included and its so bloody spicy only 1 person can eat out of 12.

    I guess I shouldn’t of doubled the spice? 😂😂

    1. Did you double the spice blend in the Notes on this recipe or the actual FULL version recipe for Baharat? I find this blend (baharat) more flavor than heat in terms of “spicy” so I wonder.

    1. 4 stars
      Nearly koshari as we never use wine in cooking instead we use vinegar with garlic which we call TASH’A also we use hot sauce and garlic sauce.

      1. There definitely is NO WINE in this Sherif, and I do suggest serving this with a hot sauce (shatta) and garlic sauce (toum), too in the recipe card. Both of which I have recipes for you to try! Thanks for stopping by and keeping me on my toes. Appreciate your input. 🙂

      2. 5 stars
        I love this recipe! In Cairo there’s a very famous no-frills restaurant which is maybe 4 or 5 storeys high . It’s called Abo Tarek and it’s always hard getting a table there especially on Fridays and Saturdays.
        This recipe is very similar to the one I’ve tried there , and I am so happy that I can make it in my own kitchen.
        Red grape vinegar sold in Egypt is often used in as it is readily available. Great recipe! Thank you Kevin.

        ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️