Kushari is the ultimate pantry cooking, vegetarian, world dish. Essentially, at the end of the month, the families in Egypt would have a little bit of everything left over in their pantry; lentils, rice, pasta, chickpeas, garlic, onions, etc. They would cook this all up and throw it all together to clean the pantry.
So, there I sat at the airport. With a diplomatic passport, I have found out, you don’t have to stand in such long lines. This I didn’t know my first trip, but I am totally reaping the benefits now. I was the line at emigration. There was a short line for customs and was told I could have gone all the way to the left instead of standing in line with everyone else. I wasn’t even asked the usual questions. *shrugs* Not that I’m smuggling anything into this country but coffee, chocolate, and maybe some olive oil. LOL
Consequently, I had some time at Miami to whip out the iPad and find something for dinner. I make the menu and grocery shop on Sundays usually, but thought I’d try to find somethings to inspire me this past weekend for dinner.
This is one of the many reasons I love Pinterest.
I can usually just scroll through my dashboard there and get Pinspired. I’ll see a few pictures of dishes, read the title and then run with it. This time, I searched for world vegetarian. #MeatlessMonday is usually not the easiest recipe to think about. I truly do need to be inspired for that every week. Inspired I was!
I saw one picture of this dish. One. I was off and running to research it and see what was in it. Kushari is the ultimate pantry cooking, vegetarian, world dish. Essentially, at the end of the month, the families in Egypt would have a little bit of everything left over in their pantry; lentils, rice, pasta, chickpeas, garlic, onions, etc. They would cook this all up and throw it all together to clean the pantry. I love this… world pantry cooking.
It’s the national dish of Egypt and can be sold in fine dining restaurants or on the street in carts. It’s a beloved dish that has it’s own sounds, smells, and tastes. While the key ingredients remain the same, it’s the spicy red sauce that will vary from dish to dish. Dim’a Musabika is the typical red sauce used to top this carb-coma. It’s a tomato paste based sauce that has cumin and either cayenne or chili pepper flakes. This is where the personal preference would show through. Some more spicy, some with more cumin.
And now for some interesting tid bits about Egypt.
- On average, only an inch of rain falls in Egypt per year.
- Ancient Egyptian women had more rights and privileges than most other women in the ancient world. For example, they could own property, carry out business deals, and initiate divorce. Women from wealthy families could become doctors or priestesses.
- The Sahara Desert at one time was lush grassland and savannah. Overgrazing and/or climate change in 8000 B.C. began to change the area from pastoral land to desert. Now it is the world’s largest hot desert at over 3,630,000 square miles—roughly the size of the United States. Antarctica is the largest desert (of any type) in the world.
- The ancient Egyptians were the first people to have a year consisting of 365 days divided into 12 months. They also invented clocks.
- Egypt’s Nile River is the world’s longest, running 4,135 miles (6,670 km). Ancient Egyptians would measure the depth of the Nile using a “nilometer.”
- Some people blamed the sinking of the Titanic on a mummified Egyptian priestess the doomed ship was transporting.
- Egyptians knew the existence of Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter.
- Ancient Egyptians kept such good flood records on the Nile that scientists today use their data to better understand rainfall patterns.
- Many tourists wonder why the roof of almost all the houses in Egypt left unfinished, and some even missing. As long as the house has no roof, it is considered unfinished and has no property taxes.
- The mummy of Pharaoh Ramses II has a modern Egyptian In 1974, the state of the mummy, for unknown reasons, was rapidly deteriorating. It was decided to take her to Paris for examination. To avoid registration of the export of cultural property as that would lead to a long examination, the mummy did passport. The passport was given the name of the Pharaoh – Ramses, and in the “Title” standing “King” and marked “sick.”
That last one is just funny. A loophole to allow the mummy to travel through customs without being an artifact. That is one of the items listed on the customs forms. Are you carrying any historical artifacts with you? Um…no? I don’t think I am. Depends on the definition, I guess. LOL
Okay, this is a multi-part recipe.
I had the rice going in my cooker. I had the lentils soaking while I was at work. All I had to do was cook the lentils and the pasta, sauté the eggplant and make the sauce, then toss it all together.
Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add onions and cook additional 2 minutes. Stir in the eggplant and sauté until tender.
Combine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 cups pasta water, salt, black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Simmer until tender and liquids reduced by a quarter.
Combine rice, lentils, pasta, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and eggplant mixture in a large mixing bowl.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
- 1 1/2 cups lentils, cooked
- 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
- 2 cups eggplant, cooked
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 cup vinegar
- 1/8 cup tomato paste
- 2 cup pasta water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
- Add onions and cook 2 minutes.
- Add eggplant and sauté until tender.
- Combine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 cups pasta water, salt, black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Simmer until tender and liquids reduced by a quarter.
- Combine rice, lentils, pasta, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and eggplant mixture in a large mixing bowl.