Kusherie (Egyptian Rice and Lentils)

I found this recipe for Egyptian Rice and Lentils in my More-With-Less Cookbook. Honestly, I didn’t have much hope for it. Even though it looked unusually good for a bean dish, my kids are notoriously bad eaters of all things bean and terribly suspicious of anything they haven’t seen before. On top of that, my husband, like most husbands, I suspect, is a meat and potatoes man. Still, every now and then, I foist one of these dishes upon them and hope for the best. How surprised was I that they actually liked it! All of the kids finished a modest helping and half of them took seconds. David didn’t eat much in honor of a weigh-in this morning, but declared he could eat half the platter and did take the leftovers to work this morning for lunch today. I thought it was wonderful, too, and enjoyed a second helping. The recipe made plenty for all of us, though, when reading it, I thought it might want a flat bread to go along with it, and after eating it, I think that would be a lovely addition. If you have time, make a batch of homemade tortillas, too.

Kusherie (Egyptian Rice and Lentils)

For the lentils:
2 Tbsp oil
1 1/4 cup dried lentils
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rice
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a heavy, lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the lentils and brown for five minutes, stirring often. This gives them a delicious, nutty flavor. Add the 3 cups water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for ten minutes, then stir in the rice and remaining water. Return to the boil, cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and let it cook undisturbed for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the sauce:
3/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups tomato juice, sauce or puree
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in another saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

For the onions:
2 Tbsp oil
3 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute until browned.

Also needed:
Plain yogurt

To serve:

Spread the lentil mixture out on a large platter. Pour the sauce over and spread to the edges of the lentils. Top with the onions and serve with plain yogurt.

My favorite store-bought yogurt is Stonyfield Farms Organic Whole Milk yogurt. It doesn’t have that nasty tang that makes yogurt-eating such a chore (unless you like that tang) and it’s the only yogurt I’ve found that isn’t low-fat. Low-fat products generally have odd things added to them to give them the more attractive consistency that their full-fat counterparts have, and that’s just…gross. I’d rather have the fat. At least I know where that came from!

(Originally posted in 2009.)