Egyptian Street Pasta With Hard-Boiled Eggs
Chef Robert Danhi
Cookbook author and consultant
This vegetarian dish, known as koshari in Egypt, is a mashup of pasta, grains and lentils in a cinnamon-scented garlic-lemon dressing topped with a spicy tomato sauce. Crispy fried onions add contrasting texture. The comforting combo is sold by street vendors and local restaurants in Egypt, but can easily be adapted to a build-your-own bowl concept.
Spiced Tangy Tomato Sauce
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp. minced garlic cloves
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2 tbsp. red or white vinegar
Salt as needed
Caramelized Fried Onions
8 med. to large onions
2 tsp. salt
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp. red chili flakes
2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. packed lemon zest
¾ cup lemon juice
¾ cup olive oil reserved from frying onions (cooled to room temperature)
5 large hard-boiled eggs, diced
5 cups brown lentils, cooked
5 cups medium-grain rice, cooked
5 cups chickpeas, cooked
10 cups ditalini pasta, cooked (about 5 cups dry pasta)
4 cups Spiced Tangy Tomato Sauce
1½ cups Dakka (cinnamon-scented lemon drizzle
2 cups Caramelized Fried Onions
1. Prepare tomato sauce: In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions; saute until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander, pepper and paprika; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
2. Pour in tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cook 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar then taste and season as needed.
3. For onions: Trim ends of onions, then then cut in half from core to stem. Peel, then cut perpendicular to slice “against the grain” into ¼-inch slices. Toss onions in salt and spread out on sheet pans lined with clean kitchen towels; let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
4. Roll up onions in towel and twist to extract as much water as possible. Unwrap and blot onions with fresh paper towels.
5. Heat oil in two large sauté pans over medium heat (or one larger rondeau). Toss onions in oil, and while stirring often, slowly fry onions until deep golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain, then spread on paper towels to drain excess fat. (This will yield about 2 cups fried onions.) Cool cooking oil and reserve for dakka.
6. For dakka: In medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients; reserve.
7. In shallow bowls, arrange pasta, lentils, chickpeas and rice for the base. Spoon some tomato sauce over ingredients; save about half to serve on the side. Scatter or arrange hard-boiled eggs on top; spoon dakka over each portion. Garnish with caramelized onions and serve with extra tomato sauce and dakka on the side.
Photograph courtesy of American Egg Board