How many of you remember seeing this earlier this month? Well yeah, here’s the first of many more tales to come. Sheny Kuruvilla, who’s been an ardent fan of the site, has been kind enough to send me a tale from her kitchen. What touched me most is, despite being explicitly non-vegetarian, she has been kind enough to weave us a veggie tale b’cos she knew that CCN does only veggie/eggie food. Sheny, that is really sweet of you, really really appreciate it. This is one fan who keeps updating me regularly on how she ‘tried this’ and ‘tried that’ and how ‘it came out really well’. It really makes your efforts worth-while when someone says they tried something you shared, and that they and their family enjoyed it. It makes you feel so warm, and so good from deep within, yeah? That is exactly what I wanted for the readers to experience too. And that is how, the whole idea of ‘Tales from Your Kitchen‘ was born. So without further ado, over to Sheny, who’s sharing with us her first tale –
My name is Sheny Kuruvilla, a Cook-curry Nook fan from U.A.E. and here’s a humble culinary tale from my kitchen for all the CCN readers across the globe.
Nostalgic lifetime memories often come from music, food and aromas and it invokes the memories of those times and places. While thinking of sending a tale to CCN, I become nostalgic… memories made me cry….the food fun-a-thons with my appa n amma, my mom-in law’s yummy dishes etc. I feel ashamed to say that I started cooking after my marriage; my first encounter in the kitchen was with the help of my hubby. Wish I could rewind the days passed, and cook at least one time for my appa n amma. Hey come on… (My mind is telling me to live in the present)…so coming to the point.
U.A.E is a multicultural melting pot, and living in the UAE for the past 10 years gave me a fantastic opportunity to experience and taste a potpourri of food extravaganza. Trying international food is the yummiest part of mingling with other nationalities. As CCN is a veggie blog, I made up my mind to share a tale about an Arabian veggie delight- Koshari. Unwrapping Koshari memoir, I remembered Ahmed, an ex-colleague of mine from whom I tasted authentic koshari for the first time. Ahmed, I’m dedicating this to you, in gratitude of the authentic koshari cooked and packed by your mom.
Koshari – One of Egypt’s most popular national dishes, is a delicious mix of rice, lentils, various pastas, topped with spicy red-hot tomato sauce and sprinkled with fried onions. Koshari can also be found spelled as kushary, koushari, koushary, or koshary. However you spell it, it is one of Egypt’s most popular vegetarian dishes.
- Brown lentils – 1 cup
- Elbow macaroni – 1 cup
- Cappelletti pasta/Alpine hat pasta (optional) – 1/2 cup (for garnishing)
- Long grained Rice – 1 cup
- Canned/Cooked Chickpeas – 1 cup
- Tomato puree – 1 cup
- Onions – 2 nos (1 for the sauce and 1 for deep-frying)
- Garlic cloves – 4 nos, finely chopped
- Cinnamon Powder – 1 tsp
- Mint leaves – 2-3 nos
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp + more for deep-frying the onion
- Cook lentils in 3 cups of boiling water with a tsp of salt till they are tender (do not overcook). Drain and set aside.
- Cook elbow macaroni in boiling water for about 12 – 15 minutes till they are tender with a tsp of salt and a drop of olive oil. Drain and set aside. Similarly, cook the Cappelletti pasta and set aside for garnishing (if using).
- Cook rice in boiling water with required salt, drain and allow it to cool.
- Drain the chickpeas from the can (if using canned), rinse with water and set aside. If cooking it yourself, pressure-cook till done, and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry the finely sliced onion to a crispy golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside for garnishing.
- To make sauce for koshari, heat olive oil in a skillet, add chopped onion, finely chopped garlic and sauté well. Stir in tomato puree, cinnamon powder, a teaspoon sugar and salt as required. Finally add few mint leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes till you get a red-hot sauce.
- To assemble koshari, toss gently cooked lentils, elbow macaroni, chickpeas and rice with a fork and layer in a bowl.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the lentil/macaroni/rice/chickpeas mixture and sprinkle liberally with crispy fried onions. Garnish with alpine hat pasta, mint leaves and cherry tomatoes, as desired.
- Mix together and enjoy!
So why hesitate? Try this and Indulge in an Egyptian culinary fairy tale…enjoy koshari with shai (mint tea) and dance to the tunes of walk like an Egyptian. Oh…whey oh!! << Walk like an Egyptian… Walk like an Egyptian >>
Wow, that looks really good Sheny! I loved all the pictures; beautifully taken to bring out the essence…very commendable work with the camera indeed! I will definitely try the Koshari soon and let you know how we liked it. Thanks so very much for sharing your tale with us. That being said, I cannot just verbally thank you and leave it at that, can I? I had secretly decided that the first tale would win a giveaway. And what’s more, it’s the very first giveaway on CCN! I’m so glad to be giving this out, and I hope you like these, and enjoy using them as much as I think you would Sheny – a set of four heat-resistant ladles from Tupperware, in a classic black, all yours! Please mail me your address so I can arrange to have it shipped to you.
I hope you all enjoyed reading Sheny’s tale as much as I did, and I hope we can all together encourage people like Sheny, who share their kitchen tales with us. For all the other non-blogger readers, I hope this tale inspires you to share yours with us. Go ahead, and flood my inbox. You never know if there are anymore surprises awaiting you 😉