clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Kushari - Egyptian Rice, Lentils, and Pasta With Spicy Tomato Sauce



For the onions:

  • 1 lb onions (454g)
  • Vegetable oil for frying, I use canola or sunflower

For the lentils and rice:

  • 4 tablespoons onion oil
  • 1 ½ cups medium grain rice, I use Calrose (11oz, 312g)
  • ¾ cup brown lentils (5.8oz, 164g)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or 3 cups water and 1 bouillon cube) (750ml)

For the pasta:

  • 1 lb box ditalini or macaroni (454g)
  • 4 tablespoons onion oil
  • Salt to taste

For the spicy tomato sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons onion oil
  • 1 onion, cut small
  • Green pepper – depending on how spicy you want it – 1 big mild pepper, or several jalapenos, cut small
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 17.64 oz box of Pomi strained tomatoes (or other good quality, strong tomato sauce) (500g)
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • Salt to taste


  • 15 ounce can chick peas, warmed and drained (425g)
  • Garlic Vinegar Sauce, see notes


For the fried onions and onion oil:

  1. Clean the onions, cut them in half, then slice in thin half-circles.
  2. In a medium pan, heat oil to 350 degrees F. You want just enough oil to cover the onions, about 3 cups.
  3. Cook onions in oil, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the edges around the pan, that will darken too quickly first.
  4. When they are golden brown, lift them out with a slotted spoon and spread on a layer of napkins. Keep them spread out so they can stay crispy.
  5. Keep the onion oil - you'll use it in three other places in the Kushari.

For the lentils and rice:

  1. Simmer lentils in water until they are almost soft, about 20-25 minutes, then drain. You don't want to fully cook them at this point because they will be cooked further with the rice.
  2. In the same pan, heat 4 tablespoons onion oil. Sauté rice and cumin in oil about 30 seconds then add lentils, broth, salt, and 1 handful of the fried onions, smashed.
  3. Bring to a boil. After boiling, cover pan with lid, turn heat to low, and cook until rice is done, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, let rest for 10 minutes, then fluff with fork. Keep covered until ready to use. Wrapped in a blanket, the rice will stay warm for several hours.

For the pasta:

  1. Cook the ditalini in salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain.
  2. Toss with ¼ cup onion oil and salt to taste.
  3. Cover and keep warm until ready to use. Wrapped in a blanket, the pasta will stay warm for several hours.

For the spicy tomato sauce:

  1. Sauté onion and green pepper in 2 tablespoons of the onion oil until they are soft.
  2. Add garlic, tomato, vinegar, bouillon cube, and salt to taste. Let simmer 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Keep warm until ready to use.

To assemble and serve Kushari:

  1. Either layer the separate components in a big serving dish or in individual bowls. First a layer of the rice and lentils goes in. Then the pasta, sauce, and finally the fried onions.
  2. If you are using the optional chickpeas, add them on top of the sauce and before the onions.
  3. For the optional extra garlic vinegar sauce, see notes.


I have incorporated the ingredients for the sauce into the other components of the dish, but for an extra flavor kick you can make the vinegar sauce that can be added on top of the Kushari.

In a jar combine:

3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons minced green pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt

Shake well before drizzling on top of assembled dish of Kushari.

*Left-over onion oil can be stored in a glass jar and used in any recipe where you want to add a fried onion flavor.