There’s a Jewish saying that all holidays end up with some kind of feast. Whether you’re explaining Chanukah or Passover to your friends, it can all be summed up by: "They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!" In the spirit of the moment, we had what is supposedly a traditional Egyptian meal this evening. The recipe came courtesy of the Arab-American news program I listen to each weekend on our local community radio station. They said this is traditional, although I am suspicious of the noodles. I KNOW I have made a dish with this name before – recipe from Nikki and David Goldbeck’s something-or-other Vegetarian Cookbook, which I used to use all the time, and it didn’t have the noodles. I do remember frying the onions for it. The sauce was a surprise. Once made, it looked and tasted exactly like the spicy tomato sauce I had in the kebab shops in Italy. This is great, because now I could make it to top some felafel, or anything else!
1 1/2 c brown lentils, soaked
1 1/2 c white rice, soaked (I used basmati)
1 c elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
salt and pepper
a few onions, sliced
2 c crushed tomatoes (I just used the whole can)
1 c tomato paste
1/4 c onions, minced
10 garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes
2 tsp. vinegar
1 T olive oil
- Bring the lentils and rice to a boil, add the macaroni, and simmer for awhile until the lentils are soft. (The only lentils I had were tiny ones, and I think they would have softened and disintegrated much sooner had they been large brown ones.)
- Meanwhile, fry the onions until they are quite browned. (This took a surprisingly long time.)
- Saute the garlic and onion mince in the oil for a bit to soften them. Don’t let them brown. Add the pepper and then the tomato and vinegar. Heat thoroughly, or whatever. It doesn’t have to cook long.
- To serve, arrange a layer of the lentil-rice-noodle mixture, then the onions, and top with sauce.
- Serves a million people, probably. It made a ton. Adjust amounts for a small family. The photo shows only some of the leftovers arranged photogenically in a casserole dish. There was at least that much more that went into the refrigerator.
- Viva Egypt!