I was watching No Reservations a few weeks back. It was the episode where Bourdain visited Egypt. There were several dishes on that episode that meet the requirements of "my “hardcore” Lent. One of these was a dish called Fül—it consists of mashed up fava beans and several other ingredients. I will post the recipe for it when I get it worked out.
The second dish was a dish called koshari. I based my recipe off of a recipe I found online. I made a few modifications, but kept it mostly the same.
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 3/4 cup uncooked rice (white)
- 3/4 cup brown lentils
- 1 cup shell macaroni (elbow macaroni works too)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (at least) dried work too, if you feel like cooking them
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp Sambal Oelek
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- vegetable oil
- water (at last 4 cups)
The first day
I cooked the chickpeas the day before everything else. I bought them dry, because dried chickpeas are cheaper. Cooking them is simple. I soaked them in lots of while I was at work and running errands for a total of about 12 hours. I then drained the water. I then simmered the chickpeas in plenty of new and salted water for a little over two hours. When they were finished, I drained them and put them in the fridge.
Cooking the koshari (the second day)
In a saucepan, put the lentils in plenty of water and bring it to a boil. (Make sure it is salted.) Once the water starts boiling, drop the heat to medium-low and simmer the lentils for 25 minutes. Drain the lentils after they’re done cooking.
Add the lentils back to the saucepan, add at least four cups of water and the rice (and a little salt). Bring the water to a boil, drop the heat and simmer again. This time, simmer the rice and lentils for 20 minutes.
At this point, cook the macaroni according to the package directions. You will want to cook it until tender, not al dente.
In a skillet (or a saucepan), heat about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic to the oil. After a minute or so, add the tomatoes, cumin, sambal and vinegar to the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil. Once it boils, drop the heat and simmer the sauce until everything is ready. Make sure to crush the tomatoes well when stirring the sauce occasionally.
In yet another skillet, heat some more oil. (You’ll want maybe 3 or 4 tbsp this time.) Once it’s ready, add the sliced onions and brown them. Once they are brown add some water and continue cooking the onions. You’ll want to repeat this a few times until the onions are caramelized.
At this point, you should have five separate dishes. These are traditionally layered in the following order: rice/lentil mix, macaroni, spicy tomato sauce, chickpeas and finally onions.