Author, Cooking Instructor, Food Writer, Culinary Consultant
An award - winning author, popular lecturer, restaurant consultant, and educator, Amy Riolo is known for fusing the worlds of culture, cuisine, and history. Amy makes frequent appearances on numerous television and radio programs both in the United States and abroad including Fox TV, CBS, Montgomery and Fairfax County TV, Nile TV, The Travel Channel, Martha Stewart Living Radio, WHYY, Abu Dhabi Television, and many others totaling a reach of over 223,194,389 people. Amy also develops and hosts a weekly news video program entitled “Culture of Cuisine” which airs on twenty-eight nationally syndicated channels and has developed hundreds of videos for corporate clients. Amy’s clients include Harris Teeter, Stevia, US Endocrine Society, US Apple Association, The National Association of Sauces and Condiments, and many others. Her work has also appeared in the USA Today, Cooking Light Magazine, The Washington Post, CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, Gulf News, Cornell Alumni Magazine, Popular Anthropology Magazine, The National, and Egyptian newspapers and hundreds of blogs. She is also the author of a popular blog called Dining with Diplomats (www.diningwithdiplomats.blogspot.com) which has been the inspiration for a Travel Channel television series. A successful restaurant consultant and graduate of Cornell University, Amy enjoys developing concepts, menus, action plans, recipes, training seminars and guides, and themes for corporations, restaurants, and hotels. She has consulted international business owners on bakeries, cafes, restaurants and stores. She was recently awarded Montgomery College’s Milton F. Clogg Award for Outstanding Alumni Achievement in the Culinary Arts. Amy’s popular lectures range in topics and include everything from improving profitability in the restaurant industry to international business and dining etiquette to international cuisine and culture. She has been an invited guest speaker for The Library of Congress, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, National Geographic, The Smithsonian Institution, The Fulbright Commission, The National Museum of African Art, The Walters Art Museum, The Kennedy Center, and many other embassies, museums, and organizations. Amy’s first book, Arabian Delights; Recipes & Princely Entertaining Ideas from the Arabian Peninsula was chosen as one of the “16 Volumes Worth Staining” by the Washington Post (Capital Books, 2007). Her second book Nile Style; Egyptian Cuisine and Culture (Hippocrene Books) won the World Gourmand Award for "Best Arab Cuisine Book" in the United States in 2009 and is now being printed in a second edition. Her most recent book, The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, (American Diabetes Association) was released in March 2010 and has won the 2011 Nautilus Book Award. Amy is a member of The International Association of Culinary Professionals, Culinary Historians of Washington, Les Dames d’Escoffier (Global Culinary Initiative), Culinary Historians of Washington, and Slow Food DC. Amy is based in the Washington DC, area and leads culinary tours to both the Mediterranean and Middle East.
How to Make a Spicy Tomato Sauce for Koushari
Internationally recognized culinary expert Amy Riolo explains how to make a spicy tomato sauce for a popular Egyptian dish known as Kushari.
This expert: 2,654,953 views
How to Make a Spicy Tomato Sauce for Koushari
Ingredients1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
3 teaspoons expeller pressed corn oil, divided
2 medium yellow onions, 1 diced, 1 thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup Egyptian* or other short grain rice
½ cup ditalini or mini penne pasta
2 yellow onions, sliced thinly or cut into thin rings
1 cup canned chick peas, rinsed and drained well
1. Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, until tender (approximately 20 minutes). Drain and reserve lentils until needed.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon corn oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until soft and golden. Add garlic and sauté until it begins to turn color. Add tomato puree, stir, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cumin, and chili powder, stir well.
3. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer, covered for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove from heat and keep covered until serving.
4. Fill a medium saucepan ¾ full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add Egyptian rice and reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender and drain rice. Place rice back in saucepan and cover to keep warm until serving.
5. Fill another medium saucepan ¾ full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Season with salt and reduce heat to a medium. Add pasta and cook until done. Drain well, place back in saucepan, and cover to keep warm until serving.
6. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons corn oil in a large, wide, frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until dark golden brown. Take off heat and stir in chickpeas. Assemble the Koushari by spooning the rice evenly into the bottom of a large, shallow serving bowl. Scatter pasta on top of rice. Pour sauce evenly over the top of rice and pasta. Arrange onions and chickpeas in a pattern around the center of the dish. Serve hot.
Tip: Cook the lentils and make the tomato sauce one day in advance and store in the refrigerator. On the day of serving cook rice and pasta, fry onions, assemble, and serve
Amy Riolo: Hi! I am Amy Riolo. Today, I am making vegetarian lentils with rice and pasta and a spicy tomato sauce. This is called Kushari in Egyptian and our lentils are boiling. Because they take the longest, so started them first. While they are simmering, I am going to start our spicy tomato sauce.
Now this is really a classic sauce in Egypt. As you know, Egypt didn't even had tomatoes until about the 17th century, but once they got them, they caught on and they became very popular. Now, this is a very traditional Egyptian street food, kind of, a dish.
So I am going to add a tablespoon of corn oil. Corn is also a new world crop, that is very, very popular nowadays in Egypt. They raise a lot of corn. If you didn't want to use corn, you could use extra virgin olive oil. I am using an organic expeller-pressed corn oil, which is a higher quality and has been extracted with a cold extraction. So that you can make sure that you are not getting any kind of chemical residue in with your corn oil.
So I am going to turn my flame on to low. As you can see, the oil is just coating the bottom of the pan. Thats the right temperature that we want so you can actually start to smell it. Now I am going to add one of our onions, the one which have diced. I am going to stir that right in.
Traditional Egyptian recipes have a lot of onions and garlic. The reason because of this is, in ancient times onions were used as a traditional medicine and they were believed to have wonderful medicinal qualities and actual spiritual qualities. Many of you will believe that onions warded off evil spirits. Of course, as we know today, onions and garlics ward off a lot of illness. So they are great healthy thing to have. As you travel through rural Egypt and in Southern Egypt, you can see a lot of people actually hang garlands full of onions outside of their home. This is why they do that, in order to protect themselves from the evil spirits but there is tons of them in the recipe. So it makes them very, very helpful.
I am just going to let that saute for a minute. This dish can be found everywhere now on the street. People go to what are called Kushari stands and they buy little bowls of it. What we are going to do is we are going to layer all of these ingredients together. So now our onions is just sauteing, it is releasing its aroma. I am going to turn our flame up to medium because I want this to get a little bit of color. Once our onion starts to color, I am going to add our garlic.
Now 6 cloves of garlic. As I mentioned, Egyptians use lots of onions and garlics. So dont be afraid by this. I call this a spicy tomato sauce. It is not too hot spicy but it is spicy because we have got spices that we are adding into it. You can see how nice the onion and the garlic are just mixing together. Now I am not going to give a lot of color to the garlic because the garlic tends to become bitter as it gets a lot of color. So I am just going to combine them and let them release their aroma. It just takes about 1 minute.
So it is time that I can add our tomatoes and here what we have our 2 cups of tomato puree. These are just strained pureed tomatoes which you can get in a can or in a box. I am going to add those right into this and this is the basis for our sauce. A lot of different Egyptian recipes use this, kind of, a tomato sauce. There is a dish called moo-sa-KAH, which is like Moussaka, made with eggplant and layered with minced beef. They also use this, kind of, a sauce in that. Now I am going to add a teaspoon of ground cumin and I will stir that in. I am also going to add cup of chili powder. If you don't want to use chili powder, you can leave that out. It is also traditional to put another, even more concentrated hot sauce on top of the Kushari itself. So they have two separate sauces sometimes and you can do that, if you like. If some people in your house like hot and some don't, just make a mild sauce and then serve more of a very hot sauce on top for the people who want spicy.
Finally, I am going to add a little bit of salt and pepper. This is just to taste and then make sure that everything comes together. My sauce is already starting to boil very quickly. So I am going to turn it down to a simmer. Here is my crushed dried pepper. I am going to cover the sauce and we will let this simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until it gets reduced by about half.