Kosheri (an Egyptian dish of rice, lentils and vermicelli topped with tomato sauce)


4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 hot red chillies, seeded and diced
8 ripe tomatoes, chopped (tinned are fine)
370ml water
4 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
20g coriander leaves. chopped
300g green lentils
200g basmati rice
40g unsalted butter
50g vermicelli noodles, broken into 4cm pieces
400ml chicken stock or water
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced

First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and chilli, and fry for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, vinegar, salt and cumin, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the coriander and taste - add salt, pepper or coriander as required. Keep hot or leave to cool (just remember to adjust the seasoning once it's cold).

To make the kosheri, put the lentils in a large sieve and wash them under the cold tap. Transfer to a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes - the lentils should be tender but far from mushy. Drain in a colander and set aside.

ln a large bowl, cover the rice with cold water, wash and drain. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the vermicelli, stir, and continue frying and stirring until they turn golden brown. Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter. Add the stock, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on. Leave for about five minutes - this helps make the rice light and fluffy.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until dark brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Gently break up the rice with a fork and add the lentils and most of the onions, reserving a few for garnish. Taste, adjust for seasoning and pile high on a platter. Top with the reserved onions and serve hot, with the sauce. ( Some people also garnish with a little yogurt)