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Dukka is drizzled on to Egyptian koshari that is piled high on a white dish.

How to make Egyptian Koshari (Koshary)

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Egypt’s National Dish! Learn how to prepare an authentic Egyptian Koshari (Koshary) using this step-by-step recipe.


Units Scale
  • 16 oz canned chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 12 oz ditalini pasta, cooked according to package instructions

Fried Onions

  • 3 large onions, sliced thin into rings
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tbsp fried onions
  • 1 tbsp reserved vegetable oil
  • 7 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and pepper. to taste
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika

Lentil Rice

  • 2 tbsp reserved oil
  • 1/3 cup fried onions
  • 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup vermicelli, toasted
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Cumin Sauce (Dukka)

  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika


Fried Onions

  1. Toss the sliced onions with the salt and cornstarch. 
  2. Add vegetable oil to a large deep pan over medium-high heat (the amount of oil you use will depend on the size of your pan – you want enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by 1-inch so as to submerge your onions completely). Add in the tossed onion slices, and stir occasionally until the onions become golden-brown, approximately 12 minutes. 
  3. Remove the fried onions, and set aside (as a single layer) to drain on a paper towel.
  4. Set aside the used oil (don’t throw it away!).

Tomato Sauce

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat add the reserved oil, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook – burnt garlic is not very tasty!
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, let simmer for 15 minutes.

Lentil Rice

  1. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, add reserved oil with the fried onions, lentils, and a tablespoon of salt. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Keep heat on medium high, maintaining a gentle boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through. Do not drain.
  2. Stir in rice, vermicelli, hot water, an additional tablespoon of salt and ground cumin. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low for 12-15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Fluff with a fork or light spatula.

Cumin Sauce

  1. Mix all the ingredients until fully combined.

Koshari Assembly

A great koshari is as much about its assembly as it is each individual component. Add the rice with lentil mixture as the base, top with the cooked ditalini pasta, prepared chickpeas, and fried onions. Drizzle on the tomato sauce and finally, the cumin sauce. Enjoy! 


  • Ditalini pasta is traditionally used, but I’ve seen koshari made using penne as well (I don’t think it looks as good, and it doesn’t scoop as well but it is possible). Cook the pasta al dente, per the package instructions.
  • For the rice, a short grain rice is ideal.
  • When cooking the rice, it’s best to use a heavy-bottomed pot, or an enamelled Dutch oven. 

How to toast vermicelli

In a medium non-stick pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add in the vermicelli and stir it continuously to ensure it browns evenly. Don’t leave it for too long, and make sure to stir constantly as vermicelli can burn quite easily! 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Egyptian
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