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Lentil and Brown Rice: Egyptian Kushari

Kushari is a famous Egyptian street food. It’s a lentil and rice pilaf, topped with a pasta, tomato sauce, and sauteed or fried onions. My healthy modifications to this dish:  skip the pasta to cut back on the carbs, use brown rice (traditionally it’s white rice), and I make it with equal parts of rice and lentils (it’s usually 2 rice: 1 lentil).

In Jordan, where I grew up, we call the rice and lentil mix Mujadara. When we add the pasta and tomato sauce, it’s Kushari.

We made this on Monday, perfect meatless meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 c dry brown lentils
  • 1 c brown rice (long grain or basmati)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsp ground cumin (divided)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Wash the lentils. Place in a medium to large pot. Cover with 4 cups of water, season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp cumin. Boil for 15 minutes. Lentils absorb a lot of water so keep monitoring so they don’t burn.

When lentils are soft (they don’t need to be completely cooked), drain the water but reserve it in a bowl. Put the lentils back in the pot, add the rice, season with another 1 1/2 tsp cumin. Pour a total of 4 cups of liquid. Start with the liquid you reserved from boiling the lentils, then continue with water.

Let simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the fluid is almost absorbed by rice and lentils. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes.

Before rice is done, in a large saute pan, saute the onion with some oil until they’re soft and brown. Set aside.

Using the same pan, saute the garlic, then add the 2 cans of tomato sauce. Break apart with a wooden spoon and stir. Fill the cans with water and gradually add the water white stirring to thin the sauce. Add another ‘can’ of water. Season with/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and the apple cider vinegar.

To serve, place rice and lentils on a plate. Top with tomato sauce then sauteed onions. Serve with a salad on the side to boost the amount of veggies in your meal.

Have you ever had Kushari or mujadarah before? What’s your favorite lentil dish?

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