When we sat down to interview Yvonne and Nancy Boules, the mother-daughter team behind Café Dahab, one dish kept coming up over and over – koshari. “[If] you put the koshari plate among kabob and other things,” Yvonne told us, “It will be the first to go.”

A hearty combination of lentils, rice, and pasta, topped with tomato sauce and caramelized onions, this ultimate comfort food is sometimes called the Egyptian spaghetti. And like its Italian cousin, it is cheap, filling, and adaptable. You like it with more pasta, add more pasta. More sauce? Go for it. “Some people like more, some people like less,” says Yvonne. Turn the page..


From: Yvonne and Nancy Boules of Cafe Dahab.

Serves: 4-6

1 large onion whole

2 cups green lentils

1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 large onion, chopped fine

2 tablespoons corn oil

3 cups long grain rice

2 cups small pasta

1. Bring 6 cups of water to boil; add whole onion; lentils and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 15 minutes.

2. Drain the water and keep to use for the rice. Allow the lentils to cool.

3. Saute the chopped onion in the corn oil until it softens. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the rice. Stir for a few minutes and then add 5 cups of the lentil water. Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat. Cook until the water has evaporated and the grains of rice are tender. Allow to cool.

4. When rice has cooled, combine with lentils.

5. Cook the elbow pasta according to the manufacturer's directions, or until al dente.

For sauce:

6-8 cloves minced garlic

2 tablespoons corn oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 can tomato paste

2 cups water

crushed red pepper to taste

salt to taste

1. Saute garlic in the corn oil.

2. Add white vinegar, tomato paste, water, salt, and red pepper. Bring to boil; then let simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.

For garnish:

2 large onions, very thinly sliced

corn oil

1. Fry the onions in the oil until golden brown. Remove from the oil and allow to cool.

To assemble koshari plate:

On a plate, put the mix of lentil and rice first. Then add pasta on top. Garnish with fried onions and serve sauce on the side.

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