I like to think of this vegetarian dish as Egyptian-style chilli. I was first introduced to it during a trip to Egypt four years ago, where it was nearly all we ate for a week! It's served in "fast food" type restaurants, sold from carts by street vendors and made in the home. There can be many variations, but this is close to the one I grew to love. By the way, this is a great recipe when you need to feed a crowd on the cheap.
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup uncooked pasta (small shells or elbow macaroni is best)
- 2 large onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 (400 g) can chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- salt and black pepper
Cook the lentils in just over a litre of salted water.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you are using.
When the lentils are quite tender, add the rice to the lentils and continue simmering until the rice is cooked, adding water if necessary.
Cook the macaroni in a separate pot.
Rinse and strain when done.
Meanwhile, fry the onions and garlic in the oil until golden.
Add the tomatoes, chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste and let it bubble for 10-20 minutes or until thickened and sauce like.
You can now blitz the sauce in a food processor until smooth or just leave as is.
Mix the lentils, rice and macaroni together in one pot.
Place some of the lentil mixture on each plate and top with tomato sauce.
Sprinkle with more hot chili powder or salt and pepper, if desired.