Monday, April 5, 2010

Wandering back to Egypt...

Khan el Khalili bazaar
On my trip to Egypt last year, one highlight that comes back to me over and over was our trip to Khan el Khalili, a bazaar in Old Cairo. The bazaar is over 1,000 years old and contains over 500 shops. We ate at Naguib Mahfouz. A restaurant, named after Egypt's Pulitzer Prize winning author. I tasted several new dishes. My favorite was a wonderful dish considered a staple there. Its name is Kosheri.
Once I got home, it was the first thing I craved. I searched and searched for a recipe that was similar to what I tasted there. This was the end result…

* 1 cup lentils
* 1 quartered garlic clove
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 3 large onions
* 1 cup oil
* 6 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
* 2 cups dry rice
* salt
* chicken stock or vegetable stock
* 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
* 1 dash lime juice
* 2 minced garlic cloves
* 1 dash yellow mustard
* 2 tablespoons vinegar

Garlic vinegar(a condiment)
3 cloves of garlic chopped mixed with 3/4 cup vinegar. Warm and set aside.

Chop the onions into small pieces ( I use the small electric food chopper and chop them in batches ) Reserve 1 tablespoon of the chopped onions for use later in the sauce. Heat the oil on med high heat, you want the oil to be very hot before putting in the onions. Add the onions in batches and fry until you get a deep brown (but not burned) color. You want them to be crispy. Be sure to watch them carefully as they go from medium brown to dark kind of quickly. Drain them onto paper towels and set aside.

Boil lentils in water (about 4 cups) along with 1 clove garlic cut into quarters, and 1 tablespoon cumin until cooked, drain and set aside.

Boil the macaroni until done (about 10 min). Cook the rice in the chicken stock, adding salt if the stock is unsalted. Put them all together in the same pot and mix well.

Now make the sauce.
In 1 tablespoon oil heated over medium heat add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped onions that you reserved from before, and a dash of salt, stir and fry about 2 minute. Add 1 and ½ teaspoon sugar to the onion garlic mixture and mix well. Add tomato puree, 2 tablespoons vinegar, a small squirt yellow mustard and a dash of lime juice. You can adjust the amounts according to your personal taste but it should have kind of a slight puckery bite. Sprinkle in a dash of cayenne pepper according to taste. I liked it kind of hot.

To serve, put the kosheri onto a plate and add a SMALL amount of sauce to the top. (A little goes a long way, and you can always add more according to taste) Sprinkle the whole thing liberally with the fried onions and a bit of the garlic vinegar. Mix together and enjoy!

No comments: