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Rice, pasta, lentils, canned tomatoes: koshari is made for self-isolation cooking

Rice and lentils served with a spiced tomato sauce and a pile of crisp onion: no wonder this Egyptian comfort food dish is so well loved.

By Emma Knowles
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Print
Every culture has its favourite comfort food and in Egypt it's koshari. It's hard not to be intrigued by a recipe that calls for a triple carb hit - rice, pasta and lentils. Served with a simple spiced tomato sauce that's fragrant with baharat, and topped with a pile of crisp onion, no wonder it's so well loved.


  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 200 gm (1 cup) basmati rice
  • 560 ml (2¼ cups) hot vegetable stock or water
  • 250 gm brown lentils
  • 100 gm small macaroni
  • 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
Baharat tomato sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2½ tsp baharat (see note)
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 400 gm canned cherry tomatoes
  • 200 gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, or to taste


  • 1
    For baharat tomato sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes). Stir in baharat and chilli flakes until fragrant, add tomatoes, season to taste and simmer until slightly thickened (6-7 minutes). Stir in vinegar, check seasoning and keep warm.
  • 2
    Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add rice and stir to coat. Season to taste, then add stock, bring to a simmer and cover. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook without uncovering until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (12-15 minutes). Set aside.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, cook lentils in a large saucepan of unsalted boiling water until almost tender (6-8 minutes). Stir in pasta and cook until pasta is al dente (6-7 minutes). Drain, then stir lentils and pasta into rice, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 4
    Heat butter and remaining oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and fry until golden brown and crisp (8-10 minutes).
  • 5
    To serve, divide lentil mixture among bowls, spoon tomato sauce on top and scatter with crisp onion.


Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend consisting of seven spices or more. It's available from Middle Eastern delicatessens and Herbie's Spices (
Drink Suggestion: Nutty dark porter. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.