"What is Koshari?" I hear you ask... "I aint got no time for cooking 3-syllable vegan dishes in my tiny kitchen" I hear you scream! If you're reading this, you're likely a mum with as little time as me! Well, this is super easy, super tasty and my version can be cooked in 15 minutes whether you have children running around your feet or not. No, we are not talking Jamie Oliver style... We mean a REAL 15 minute vegan meal that doesn't take you 4 hours of pre-prep!
So before we give you the magical mum's recipe let's give you some background! Koshari is the National (and incredibly delicious, vegan) dish of Egypt... Just one bowl of this hearty feast will have you feeling like Pharaoh or Queen of the Nile!
I discovered this incredible dish whilst travelling through the golden cities of Egypt. It didn't take long to find as Koshari is well known and loved throughout the land. Children are raised strong and powerful from a lifetime of feasting upon this yummy vitamin filled goodness that I now raise my very own Pharaoh on (no, seriously... that's his name).
During one of my many visits to the beautiful country, my good friend invited me to experience Koshari in the authentic way. So off we went to a tiny Koshari restaurant in the very heart of Cairo. When I say restaurant, I mean a box room, already overcrowded with just 2 chefs present. One chef stood stirring several enormous pans, whilst the other served take-away bowls to the ever growing crowds gathering outside.
Providing you're in no hurry, dining-in is an option and is well worth the experience. Simply wait your turn to squeeze past the chefs and head to the seating area upstairs... As we did! The upstairs features a few tables and approximately 20 chairs, so you must wait your turn as family after family arrive to dine through the evening. Although crammed like sardines, the atmosphere upstairs is magical, with jokes and laughter shared between all in the room.
Once seated, we were passed menus. This menu must have been the most underwhelming menu I have seen in my entire life so far! It featured Koshari, followed by Koshari, followed once again by Koshari. My only choice; SMALL... MEDIUM... or LARGE and by large I mean I could feed my whole family on one bowl!
What impressed me most about my SMALL (that was definately not small) bowl of Koshari, was it's unique presentation, served in individual layers of ingredients ready for you to mix up youself... This is the official way to serve Koshari, it all adds to the dining experience!
After stirring (and making an awful lot of mess as the bowl is filled to the brim), it's time to get personal and top everything off with a sauce of your choice. Popular options are fresh zingy lemon juice, garlic sauce or the hottest sauce i've ever had in my life!!!
In Egypt, Koshari is the dish for celebrations, for comfort, for love!
This beautiful comforting dish is so delicious that i've been making it ever since. I used to make this vegan recipe from scratch and spend hours with the preparation. Nowadays, being a busy mother of two, I use my own recipe; "Mamma's Quick Koshari"... And the kids love it!
Whether you usually follow a vegan lifestyle or not, I encourage you to try this dish and see what you think! Vegan dishes are easier, tastier and more nutritious than you could ever believe and this is a damn good place to start!
Mamma's Quick Koshari
1/2 a bag of Macaroni, 1 pack of Tilda (Vegan) Rice, 1 x large Tomato, 2 x Onions, 1/2 a bulb of Garlic, 1 x Lemon, Tomato Puree, White Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar, tin of Chickpeas, tin of Lentils, Salt & Pepper.
Step 1 - Pop 1/2 a small pack of Macaroni on to boil for approximately 12-15mins (check cooking times on your pack). In the meantime, move on to the next step.
Step 2 - I use tinned Lentils and Chickpeas for speed, simply simmer for 5 minutes each or alternatively pop in the microwave for 2.5 minutes.
Step 3 - Tear open the Rice packet and allow to cook in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes (again just double check your packet)
Step 4 - Dice the Tomatoes and simmer in a small pan with a tablespoon of Tomato Puree and a splash of White Wine Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar). Stir occasionally.
Step 5 - Slice the Onions (not in any particular fancy fashon, just chop the bloody things) and gently fry in Olive Oil and a sprinkle of Salt until soft and brown.
Step 6 - Softly fry a 1/2 bulb of chopped Garlic (again, it's going to melt into your dish anyway... don't be faffy about it, just get it chopped) with Salt and Pepper in a large pan for roughly 3 minutes, this will be the base for your dish.
Step 7 - Drain and add the Macaroni, Lentils and Chickpeas to the Garlic, followed by the Rice. I would mix these ingredients at this point as it's much easier than mixing in your individual bowls... This is now your base.
Step 8 - Grab yourself a bowl and serve up a yummy portion of Koshari base. Top off with the plump and chunky Tomato Sauce and finish with salted fried Onions.
For individual tastes, squeeze fresh Lemon juice, Garlic sauce, or for the brave and daring... drizzle with hot Chilli sauce and enjoy!
There you have it... Vegan, Egypt & Culture...All in one dish!
It really is easy 'chick'peasy!
More tasty, natural and vegan dishes can be found at CrazyVeganKitchen.com, with whom we have no affiliation whatsoever! We recommend that you give them a visit! There are some great, quick meals for those that have little in the way of time, but much in the way of a vegan lifestyle! Yes, that includes all of you fellow vegan mum's out there! Until next time!