Our Beautiful Human Family Corner: Cultural Spotlight on Egypt
Egypt’s Beloved Koshary
Egypt is a country located in the northeastern corner of Africa. Egypt’s heartland, the Nile River valley and delta, was the home of one of the principal civilizations of the ancient Middle East and was the site of one of the world’s earliest urban and literate societies. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the “gift of the Nile.”
Koshary is the national dish of Egypt. It is served in virtually every Egyptian restaurant, home, and street corner. Street vendors serve the dish from carts to people eagerly waiting in line to eat this beloved and highly popular dish. An unusual combination, Koshary mixes lentils, macaroni noodles and rice into a single dish and it’s then topped with a spicy tomato sauce that uses a special Middle Eastern spice blend, garbanzo beans, and fried onions. The idea sounds strange…until you taste it.
Koshary isn’t actually Egyptian in origin. It is believed that Koshary originated in India and dates back to the time of British Colonization. The name “Koshary” is actually from the Hindu “khichri”, which refers to a dish of lentils and rice. When the British arrived in Egypt in the late 1800′s they brought this dish with them – it was inexpensive and filling. The Italian community that lived in Egypt at that time adopted the dish and added their favorite food to it – pasta! The Egyptians then added the spicy vinegar tomato sauce, garbanzo beans and the fried onions to add that unique flavor it has now, and mixed all ingredients together in one extremely delicious and vegetarian dish. Koshary is truly a fusion dish, it is a mixture of all the different civilizations that came to Egypt in the history of its existence. Nowhere in the world will you be able to taste so many cultures in one plate!