An adaptation of Ahdaf Soueif's recipe for koshari first published in the Guardian. It's a delicious mixture of lentils, rice and pasta topped with a tangy tomato and lime sauce and fried onions. Cheap, filling and great for a crowd. Perfect for students. Perfect for veggies and vegans.
Time: About 30-40 minutes
Cost: about 75p a head (cheaper if you already have most of the ingredients)
For the sauce
3 tbsp sunflower or other cooking oil
1 medium to large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 350g fresh tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste (if using fresh tomatoes)
2 tsp Marigold vegan bouillon powder
1/8 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper or a good few twists of a spicy spice grind
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of 2 limes or 1 1/2 lemons (about 4 tbsp)
1 heaped tsp cumin, preferably freshly ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper
200g (1 cup/mug) green or brown lentils or 2 x 400g cans of lentils, drained and rinsed
175g (1 cup/mug) long grain rice
250g (2 cups/mugs) macaroni and/or broken up spaghetti*
1 large or 2 medium onions or 4-5 tbsp dried fried onions (available in Asian shops)
3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
Note: you will need a frying pan and 3 saucepans!**
First start the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped onion over a moderate heat until soft and golden. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste if you're using fresh ones then add the Marigold bouillon powder and chilli powder. Add a cup or mug of water, bring to the boil and leave to simmer.
Next cook the lentils if you're cooking them from scratch. Put them in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and skim. Simmer for about 20 minutes
In another pan put 1 tbsp of oil, add the rice and stir then pour in 350ml of boiling water and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir, put a lid on the pan and leave over a low heat for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.
In another pan bring water to the boil and cook the macaroni or spaghetti for the time recommended on the pack.
While all these are cooking, fry the remaining onion until the edges are dark brown (or crisp up some ready-dried fried onions)
Crush the garlic cloves*** and mix with the lime or lemon juice. Add cumin to taste then mix with the tomato sauce. Add a tablespoon of oil and a few finely chopped coriander stalks plus a little extra water if the sauce is too thick.
Drain the pasta and lentils and check that the rice has absorbed the cooking water. (Or heat through the lentils, if using tins)
On a big platter or individual plates layer up the ingredients - first the pasta, then rice, then lentils, then the sauce so that you can seet the previous layer underneath (see picture) Top with the fried onions and scatter with coriander.
Serve with a green salad or some steamed broccoli florets
* this is a great way to use up the leftover ends of pasta packets - just make sure the different shapes take roughly the same time to cook
** if you haven't got that many pans it's probably better to use canned lentils which you can simply mix in with the rice towards the end of the cooking time
*** the best way to crush garlic when you're eating it raw like this is to pound it with a little coarse seasalt in a pestle and mortar