A classic Egyptian street food with numerous varieties, all versions of koshary consist of a combination of chickpeas, lentils, rice, and/or pasta, a flavorful tomato sauce, and sweet crispy onions.
- In a sauce pan heat oil over medium-high. Add grated onions and cook until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add garlic, harissa, and cumin, continuing to cook until fragrant.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until well mixed and darkens in color. Add diced tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Purée until smooth. Hold hot for service or cool completely and reheat as needed.
- In a pan with tall enough sides to allow for onions to float in oil, heat oil over medium-high. Once hot, add onions and sugar. Stirring frequently, cook onions until browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove onions from oil and allow to drain on towel. Hold warm, making just prior to service. Oil can be reserved and used as desired, or discarded.
- Place rice in container and cover with water. Soak rice for 15 minutes and drain. Set aside.
- Add lentils to a pot and cover with an excess amount of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until tender but not fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain from water.
- In a sauce pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add soaked rice, par-cooked lentils, salt, black pepper, and coriander. Cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add enough warm water to cover rice and lentils with roughly 1/2" of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until water is fully absorbed and rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
- Fluff rice lentil mixture with a fork and gently fold in cooked pasta and chickpeas. Hold hot for service.
- For each serving, portion 1 1/2 cups starch base onto desired plate or bowl. Top with 3/4 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup fried onions. Serve warm with vinegar if desired.
Ditalini can be substituted with any small pasta.