Around the World in 12 Plates: Egypt

Holy crap what a busy month! I cannot believe we are cluing up the tenth challenge in Around the World in 12 Plates. It feels like this year of food discovery is just flying by. I’ve learned so much about different food traditions it’s only made me hungry for more.

One of the best things this month was attending the Food Bloggers of Canada conference in Ottawa. I got to hang out with some of the #ATW12P challengers! Meeting up IRL (“in real life”) was a great experience, and of course there was lots of challenge chat. It made me even more excited for this month’s challenge.

Here’s what I cooked for Around the World in 12 Plates Egypt

Title.The Food Girl in Town.Bowl of Koshary.Vertical.ATW12P Egypt

Koshary is one of Egypt’s most beloved and devoured street foods. It’s rich in protein and looks freaking delicious, so the minute I learned about it, I knew it was what I had to make. I used the recipe for Koshary from Matters of the Belly, a great Egyptian blog by a lovely woman named Noha Serageldin. Her blog is not only beautiful, but also shows the culinary delights of her native Egypt from her kitchen in Australia.

The Food Girl in Town.Bowl of Koshary.Horizontal.ATW12P Egypt

Koshary’s quick (and long) history

What attracted me to this dish was it’s interesting history. Around the World in 12 Plates is all about learning about new foodways, and I discovered this Egyptian street food has a unique culture in its own right. Even though Koshary is now one of the most popular dishes in the country, it didn’t gain acclaim  until the mid-20th century: and it’s not even Egyptian in origin!

Each layer of the dish has been added over the years by a different culture. The dish has Hindi origins, derived from “khichri,” a dish consisting of rice and lentils. This dish was brought to Egypt by British colonists in the 1800s where it gained in popularity with the locals because it was cheap and hearty. Later, Italians living in Egypt added the pasta, followed by the Egyptians who added tomato sauce, chickpeas and onions.

The Food Girl in Town.Platter of Koshary.Horizontal.ATW12P Egypt

Carbs on Carbs on Carbs

In addition to the melting pot of history steeping in this dish is the carbs. People, there’s rice AND pasta. I freaking love it. Its all about the layering when it comes to this dish. The bottom layer is a mixture of lentils and rice, followed by pasta, then the chickpeas and vinegary dakka sauce. Top this carb-y mixture with spice-filled tomato sauce and the crispy fried onions and you’ve got yourself a whole lot of deliciousness.

The Food Girl in Town.Adam Bowl of Koshary.Vertical.ATW12P Egypt

The Matters of the Belly recipe suggests serving it buffet style so people can layer up however they choose. When Adam and I ate, we piled it all in a bowl at the kitchen island. It was a fun way to have dinner. Koshary can also be served family style on a giant platter full of tasty goodness.

The Food Girl in Town.Bowl of Koshary.Vertical.ATW12P Egypt

The Food Girl in Town.Platter of Koshary.Vertical.ATW12P Egypt

Around the World in 12 Plates challengers

Check out what my fellow challengers cooked up with month:

Sugar Loves Spices went sweet with Om Ali, a popular dessert

Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen also went to the sweeter side with basbousa, an Egyptian semolina cake


PINTEREST.The Food Girl in Town.Bowl of Koshary.ATW12P Egypt copy

6 thoughts on “Around the World in 12 Plates: Egypt”

  • Gabby! We’re almost at the end of this incredible food journey and what an amazing experience it has been! Koshari looks like something I would love! Carbs on carbs and I’m all up for that! Plus, lentils, and chickpeas, some of my favorites! I didn’t know about this dish, so thanks to our monthly “excursion” it’s opening up my eyes on many new foods! Pinned, tweeted and all that stuff! 😉

    • Thanks so much you guys!! I have to say I was skeptical about all of the carbs making the dish too one note, but the sauce is sooooo flavourful it makes everything sing together in harmony. I’m glad you discovered a new dish, after reading about your adventures in Cairo I was certain you would have tried it!

  • It was so great to meet you, Nicoletta, and Loreto at the conference! I’m a bit sad as it seems our world culinary tour is coming to a close though I am looking forward to November’s Swedish challenge. I know nothing about Swedish food, other than the famous meatballs!
    Truthfully I have my reservations about Koshary and all the carbs involved, I just can’t wrap my head around mixing rice and macaroni hahaha! What I do love is the layering of cultures in this dish. It is truly remarkable…when cultures mix there’s usually a bit of invention and fusion but I have never seen a dish that contains actual layers representing each culture. It’s fascinating, like an archaeological dig…am I right?

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