By Nermine Mitry-Mansour

Published in the TML Magazine Issue 9, 2020

  • Fried Onions
  • 5 big onions, thinly sliced (see notes) 1/4 cup corn flour or all purpose flour
  • Unflavored oil for frying
  • Rice-Vermicelli-Lentil
  • 2 cups white basmati rice, soaked and rinsed
  • 1 cup broken vermicelli
  • 1 cup brown lentils, soaked for 2 hours and rinsed well
  • Enough water to cook the rice-vermicelli-lentil dish
  • Pasta
  • 2 cups of elbow macaroni, cooked al dente 1 tablespoon of onion-infused oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • Chickpeas
  • 2 cup of cooked chickpeas, or canned chickpeas
  • Daqqah or Vinegar-Garlic Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of crushed garlic 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  1. To make the crispy fried onions, thinly slice the onions, with a sharp knife or a mandoline. Add the onion slices to a zip bag along with the corn flour (or flour). Shake well until all the on- ion slices are coated. Shake the onion rings to dust off the excess of corn flour (or flour), and dip them in the hot oil. Once they turn into a golden shade, remove them with a slotted spoon and lay them in one layer over a kitchen paper towel to absorb the excess oil. When you are done frying all the onions, use a fine mesh sieve to drain the oil. Discard any solids and keep the filtered, onion-infused oil to cook the rest of the ingredients.
  2. To make the vermicelli rice-brown lentils, add three tablespoons of the onion-infused oil to a heavy-bottom pan on a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the rice and stir for a few minutes until it is well coated with oil, add the vermicelli, and stir a few more minutes until its color slightly darkens. Add the lentils and stir for one minute or two. Add the water and cover. The water level should be 2 inches over the vermicelli rice/lentil mix. Bring it to a vigorous boil, over high heat, for 15 minutes. Lower the heat and let it cook for another 10 minutes covered with a kitchen towel and the lid. Turn off the heat, uncover the pan, fluff it with a fork, and let the steam escape. The rice should be fluffy and perfectly cooked at this point (see notes).
  3. To season the pasta, add one table- spoon of the oil to a pasta pan, then add the cumin and stir. Add the al dente pasta to the pan, mix it well until all the pasta is coated with the oil-cumin mixture. Turn off the heat.
  4. To make the spicy tomato sauce, add a tablespoon of onion-infused oil to the pan, add cayenne pepper and stir, add the crushed garlic, stir for a few seconds, add the tomato juice, tomato paste, and let it simmer. Salt and pepper.
  5. To make the Daqqah or vinegar and garlic sauce, add the onion-infused oil, sauté the crushed garlic and before it changes its color, add the vinegar and then the water. Salt and pepper.
  6. To serve the Kushari, pile high each dish. Start first with the vermicelli rice-lentil, then, in the following order, add the season elbow macaroni, cooked chickpeas. Then add the crunchy onions on top of it and then drizzle the two sauces. Serve more of the two sauces on the side.
  7. A zesty green salad served on the side is always a plus.
  8. Relax, and watch everything quickly disappearing.


To avoid burning tears, keep a lit candle on your workstation where you are slicing the onions.

Corn flour or flour ensure the crispness of the onion rings. The starch absorbs the moisture in the onions before frying.

Invest in a good quality of basmati rice. This specific ingredient could make or break the Kushari.

To avoid a lumpy rice, soak the rice for 20 minutes and then rinse it several times until the water runs clear.

Best Kushari places in Cairo are “Abu Tarek” and “kushari Al Tahrir.


Our issues are timeless throughout the year, therefore they are not numbered by seasons, but by numbers.