My first stab at kosheri: an Egyptian adaptation of an Indian dish called kichri. Alternating layers of a tomato-lentil sauce, white rice, and french fried onions make this dish a (fairly) healthy, tasty vegan meal.
Adapted from a recipe found on pp. 200-1 of Angela Shelf Medearis’ excellent examination of African, Southern & Caribbean cooking: The Ethnic Vegetarian.
The cookbook suggests a significant time savings can be realized if one uses commercially-available French’s french fried onions (the ones that usually go on top of the repulsive green bean & cream of ________ soup casserole at holiday time) and leftover white rice.
Our onions, tomatoes, and some spices were local. As usual, our rice is Guyanese. Other ingredients (lentils, other spices) are of unknown provenance.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1.5 c. uncooked long-grain white rice
- .5 c vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 c. whole wheat or all-purpose flour (I used the latter).
- 3 t. salt
- 2 t. black pepper
- .25 t. cayenne pepper
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into rings
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 hot green chile, seeded & chopped (I used local scotch bonnet peppers)
- 2 cans (2o oz.) peeled whole tomatoes, crushed (I used eight medium-sized tomatoes from Annette, peeled & crushed)
- 1 can lentils, drained & rinsed (or make your own: bring 1 c. of lentils to boil in 3 c. water, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, drain)
- 1 c. vegetable broth (one salty Maggi cube)
- .25 c. white wine vinegar
- .5 t. ground cumin (I used ground roasted geera).
“Prepare the rice according to package directions [or custom].
“Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
“Combine the flour, 1 t. of the salt, 1 t. of the black pepper, and 1/8 t. of the cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge the onion rings in the seasoned flour. Plae the onions in the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the onions over and fry untilgolden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil to a paper towel-covered plate to drain (do not discard the oil in the pan). Sprinkle the onions with 1t. of the remaining salt. Set aside.
“Place the garlic and the chile pepper in the remaining vegetable oil in the skillet. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with juice), lentils, vegetable broth, vinegar, cumin, and the remaining 1 t. salt, 1 t. black pepper, and 1/8 t. cayenne pepper to the skillet.Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
“Place a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a large serving dish. Place the rice on top of the sauce. Top with a layer of onions. Place another payer of the sauce on top of the onions. Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used. Top with any remaining sauce and fried onions.”