Just before the July 4th holiday, we ran an article written by the Taxi Gourmet about the Top 15 Cabbie-Recommended Dishes In NYC.  #12 on the list was koshari from Kabab Cafe in Astoria.  Koshari is a popular street food in Egypt.

We ran across an article by Flitzy Phoebie that included a koshari recipe, with a few small changes made for American palettes.

Check out the article and her koshari recipe after the jump.  This looks pretty interesting.  If you try it, please take a picture and let us know how it turned out.

Flitzy Phoebe: Koshari is the national dish in Egypt – like our hamburgers and fries. It is wholesome, filling, and inexpensive. The Koshari cooks work from street carts in the marketplace.  There is a clanking of serving spoons on the bowls holding the diverse grains, legumes, spices, and sauces. It makes a tapping sound, like music, and draws the hungry shoppers.

Imagine a combination of lentils, garbanzos, rice and macaroni topped with spice blends, garlic and tomato sauces, and dressed with caramelized onions, vinegar and salsa. It sounds atrocious! The preparation is important – all the legumes, macaroni and rice must be kept to small portions, and must be cooked separately, so that each item holds its flavor.  I also rinsed the beans ( matpe and brown lentils) after cooking to remove any residual starch film – the impact is to feature each item, then enhance them with a sauce that causes everything to dance in a whirlwind of flavor and aroma.

I made a few adaptions and changes, to address our palatte, so my recipe is different from the original Koshari. I made a red curry sauce, added a little parsley and bacon for topping, and added suets I had left-over in the fridge. I save these to enhance sauces when I’m not using meat in a dish – they give body and flavor to an otherwise subtle tomato flavor.

We also stirred all the legumes and rice together, then added the sauce. In Egypt the blends are kept separate when served, and dipped into the bowl of tomato sauce. This dish is worth the work! It’s great warmed up the next day, or packaged in individual serving pouches for the freezer.

ari – a celebration of flavor and substance:
Cook separately until just done, (almost al dente):
1/2 cup brown lentils

1/2 cup whole matpe beans

1 cup orzo macaroni

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup garbanzos (or 1 can)

Prepare and have on hand:
1 large onion, chopped, and caramelized

2 crushed garlic cloves

Finely chopped red-orange-yellow bell peppers

Chopped parsley or cilantro

Cooked, chopped bacon

Red Curry Sauce:
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp peanut oil
Any suet from cooked meats, plus a little fat
Two cans of chopped tomatoes

3/4 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

4 tsp tomato paste

1 Tbs Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

1 1/2 Tbs molasses powder (or brown sugar)

salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic, then add all curry ingredients together, simmering until the thickness of the sauce is to your preference. Then place the curry sauce on top of the lentils, rice, etc – don’t mix it in.  Let it mingle without over-powering. Dress with the bacon, parsley, and caramelized onions.