Egyptian Koshari and Baharat Spice Mix
So after a lot of thinking I chose to do the recipes that have some special place or I can say close to my heart .The one such dish was Egyptian Koshari. Now you must be wondering what is so special in the dish.Well being a popular vegan dish is one fact, but this recipe is a memorable one for me.
The story begins when we moved to US,Tallahassee ,Florida three month’s back .We came to know some neighbors or I should say some friends in our Apartments society.One such neighbor is an Egyptian lady and her two kids . The elder boy is of same age as my daughter and is friends with her.All the kids loved to play in the back garden and we ,mothers were also sitting there,gossiping and watching them.
It was all fun, but one day the lady told us that they were going back to Egypt as she didn’t get the grant from her University for more time.It was all of a sudden and we all were like whoa.The kids were very sad mainly her son . He doesn’t want to go back .All of this happened within a week .Her husband and son went one day before her flight.She was all alone in her house.She gave all her furniture , kitchen appliances and almost everything in the neighborhood.So as a gesture ,we all friends thought to provide her food for the day she was staying in her empty apartment.First day I send her aloo baingan sabzi , poori ,salad,chutney and curd.The dinner was given by my Gujarati friend .She made Khaman , rice ,dal and halwa and poori for her.Now it was only lunch time left before she would go to airport.I asked her in the night what she would like to eat and she said anything. I suddenly asked her if she would like to have Koshari and she said yes she would love to.
As her flight was around 3:00pm , I woke up early and started looking for the ingredients.I had everything except macroni , so I substituted it with Vermicelli.
After preparing everything,I assembled the dish and went to her house. She tasted it and said that she never had such delicious Koshari before even in Egypt.She told me that they don’t usually make it at home ,they would prefer to buy it from street markets.
The only thing she said missing was fried onions. I mean I did topped the dish with onions but she told me they would add lots of fried onions.
The idea of doing this post came today in mind when I talked with her today .She told me that the condition is still not good there.Even the school hasn’t started yet and they are not sure when the schools would start again.Pretty bad .I hope everything will be fine there soon .
Now coming back to the recipe.Here is how I made it.
For Baharat Masala
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dry roast the whole seeds except the ground one in a pan,tossing in between.Cool and grind along with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
Store in airtight container.
1 cup rice
1 cup brown lentil /whole masoor dal
1 cup small macroni (I used vermicelli )
2 onions ,thinely sliced
2-3 garlic cloves,minced
2 cup vegetable stock/water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
For the sauce
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomato sauce/3 medium tomatoes,pureed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 teaspoon baharat spice powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup crispy fried onions
1/4 cup canned or boiled white chickpea/garbanzo beans
Heat olive oil in a pan and add washed and drained rice.Stir fry the rice fro 5 minutes.Now add the vegetables stock or water and bring it to boil.Cook,covered on simmer for 10-15 minutes or until rice are done.
Wash and soak brown lentil in enough water.Cook covered for 30 minutes in a pan with garlic ,cumin and bay leaf and 3 cups of water.Alternatively cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles.Once cooked , add salt and drain completely,set aside.
Cook the macroni /vermicelli as per packet instructions.
Heat olive oil in a pan and add garlic and onions.Cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown in color.
Add the tomato puree, bharat mix ,salt ,pepper ,chilly flakes and red wine vinegar.Coo ,covered on simmer for 15-20 minutes.
In a mixing bowl add cooked rice ,lentils and macroni/vermicelli.Toss well until combined.
Sprinkle some bharat masala over each serving, top with some spicy tomato sauce.Add some garbanzo beans ,crispy fried onions and some more baharat spice mix.
Serve and enjoy.
Serve-4 Cooking time-45 minutes