As the months get colder, it somehow feels more acceptable to dig into a huge bowl of carbs. But not just one kind, mind you, no, it has to be layers upon layers of different carbs, with sauce and crispy shallots over the top.

Introducing my Koshari recipe – a carb lover’s winter dream come true or rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, a tomato based sauce, crispy shallots, garlic vinegar and hot sauce. And of course, my twist on it with Persian rice, because the Persian in my house wouldn’t have it any other way.

And how can you go wrong with butter and rice?

Bonus points: it’s vegetarian, and if you use oil instead of butter, it can be vegan too!


Tammi Kwok
Love your carbs? Well why not try this plate of carb on carb action called Koshari? As Anthony Bourdain says, "it sits in your stomach like a bag of quarters", but it's so delicious and comforting, especially in winter! Bonus points: it's vegan/vegetarian friendly too.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 8


For the rice

  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 tsp tumeric* optional
  • 1 tbsp oil optional
  • 1 tbsp salt

For the Lentils

  • 1 cup dried green lentils

For the Pasta

  • 150 g dried spaghetti/macaroni
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the Chick peas

  • 400 g 1 can chickpeas, drained

For the Tomato sauce

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 800 g 2 cans diced tomato
  • 3 tsp baharat*

For the garlic vinegar

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin

To serve

  • Hot sauce of your choice
  • Fried shallots


For the rice

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil with salt.
  • Rinse the basmati rice briefly, then place carefully into the boiling water.
  • If not cooking using the Persian method, then boil till the rice is fully cooked, and strain.
  • If cooking using the Persian method, boil till the rice grains are half cooked, with a streak of opaque white still visible in the grain.
  • Strain the rice, and in the large pot, heat the oil with a teaspoon of turmeric.
  • Add the rice back into the pot, with 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Cover with a lid, and cook over low heat for about 30min, or until the rice has finished cooking in the steam.

For the lentils

  • Cover the dried lentils in water, and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the lentils, and bring a large pot of salted boiling water to the boil.
  • Boil the lentils for about 10 minutes, or till they are tender but retain a slight bite to it

For the Pasta

  • Bring a pot of salted boiling water to the boil.
  • If using spaghetti, break it up by placing it in the centre of a clean tea towel.
  • Roll the tea towel up long ways, and grasp the two overhanging sides.
  • Run the towel wrapped spaghetti on the corner of a kitchen bench till the it breaks into bite sized pieces.
  • Boil the pasta for about 10 mins, or until al dente.

For the tomato sauce

  • Finely dice the onion and garlic.
  • Saute in a wide pan over medium heat with a pinch of salt and baharat spice till softened.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook till reduced by half.
  • If a smoother sauce is preferred, you can blend the tomato sauce in a blender after it's been cooked.

For the garlic vinegar

  • Roughly chop garlic
  • Lightly crush the cumin using a mortar and pestle or the bottom of a clean sauce pan
  • Place into a small pot with vinegar and chopped garlic, and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Turn the heat off and let cool to room temperature to infuse.

To serve

  • Layer a large bowl or deep plate with rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, tomato sauce, and fried shallots.
  • Serve with hot sauce and garlic vinegar.


*To add more flavour, I cook the rice the Persian way. Traditionally, this recipe just has rice boiled in salted water, but if you'd like, you can take the extra steps for the extra flavour!
**Baharat is a Middle Eastern mix of spices. This can vary slightly depending on the supplier of the mix, so I just get whatever I like the smell of.

Have you had koshari before? Or maybe you’ve got a favourite carb-heavy winter warmer? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!


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  1. Dannielle @ Zamamabakes April 17, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Tammi this looks like Christmas on a plate, so many treasures to enjoy in one sitting, love it and perfect for the cooler weather!
    Thanks for coming to join in the fun with us at Fabulous Foodie Fridays this week, such a pleasure having you.
    Have a delicious weekend!

    1. tammi - Site Author April 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Thanks for dropping by Danielle! It’s been a favourite in my household because it’s also so budget friendly – great for feeding large groups of people!

  2. Lauren @ Create Bake Make April 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I feel exactly the same way, cooler weather = carbs! I think all of the carb lovers in my house will love this one too!

    1. tammi - Site Author April 22, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      It’s been a running favourite in mine – I’m glad I could share it with you! Thank you for hosting Fabulous Foodie Fridays!

  3. Catherine Holt April 20, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    When it gets colder I seriously dive for the carbs! This is a plate of goodness!

    Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.

    1. tammi - Site Author April 22, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Catherine!

  4. Noha April 5, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Tammi
    Can I share your koshary photo on my fb page?


  5. Wendy January 23, 2020 at 6:06 am

    ???? Hola hermosa; ahora te cuento porque nos hemos reído tanto. . El Kushari es uno de los platos que más me gustan del mundo mundial, nunca lo he preparado y te daré un voto de confianza, a pesar que no eres egipcia.
    Mi marido es Saudí y yó soy de Guadalajara _España; hemos vivido muchos años en Jeddah y ahora vivimos en Guadalajara. En jeddah hay un restaurante cochambroso, horroroso! Pero preparan el mejor Kushari, ni siquiera en Egipto hemos comido un Kushari tan delicioso.
    Porqué nos hemos reído tanto? Porque tú y tus lectores hablan de comerlo en tiempo frío por tanto carbohidratos y nosotros lo hemos comido bajo el clima de medio oriente, 50 •C, también es cierto que intentamos caminar y nó rodar, así es que, lo comíamos talvez, cada 2 meses.
    Éste fín de semana lo preparo y te cuento. Gracias por compartir ???


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