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Jan 10, 2011 09:57 AM

Where to find Koushari: an Egyptian National Dish

Long ago, I followed a delivery guy carrying stacks of empty bowls out of a souq in Cairo to a nearby joint that seemed to cater to the locals. It's a popular traditional Egyptian national dish. It consists of a base of rice, brown lentils, chickpeas, macaroni, and a topping of Egyptian garlic and vinegar and spicy tomato sauce. Fried onions are commonly added as a garnish. I've been trying to locate a restaurant that serves it without success. Do you know any place that may serve it?

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  1. I had some at Cherry Cafe in Astoria on Broadway.

    1. I believe Kabob Cafe on Steinway *can* serve it as well.

      1. Kabab Cafe in Astoria
        Mister Falafel on 7th Ave in Park Slobe

        Kabab Cafe
        25-12 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

        1 Reply
        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I've had it at Mr. Falafel :)

          Mr. Falafel
          226 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        2. Thanks guys! I ended up going to Kabab Cafe. Per Ali, his Koushari is Alexandria version, and it was good. I can't say I know the difference well, but the Cairo version has macaroni pasta as main base rather than rice, and has condiments/topping that are placed on top - like lentils, fried onion, minced meat, and such - rather than mixed into mostly rice-based one made by Ali.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kurtis

            Gotta love Ali... I asked him for koushari once, and he offered a Cairo-style macaroni-based version. I think Ali just makes things however he feels like making them on any particular day--and that's exactly what makes him brilliant.

          2. dont know if this place is there any more, but we used to have Kushari from the little felafel shop on St. Marks Place (E. Village) across from the former Theater 80 St. Marks.

            6 Replies
            1. re: jen kalb

              It's a perfect dish for place like felafel shops to sell, and a great street food option too. Hmm, may be I should make a business offer to that Egyptian street vendor guy. I will check this one out, jen. Thanks.

              1. re: Kurtis

                I hope they are still there - when we used to patronize that shop they had quite a number of dishes on their steamtable.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  I don't have a restaurant suggestion, but want to tell you that I've made the Ottolenghi recipe and it's amazing....


                  1. re: janeh

                    It looks close to the Alexandria version I had from Ali. It looks great, BTW. Does the dish refrigerate well?

                    1. re: Kurtis

                      Not only does it refrigerate well, it's even better the next day. If you make it and use "tinned" tomatoes as I did, a large can of Muir Glen tomatoes has 8 tomatoes - voilÄ! I also used the juice from the tomatoes in place of some of the water. So good...

                      1. re: janeh

                        made this Ottolenghi recipe last night - liked the combination of flavors -some thickened yogurt is a good accompaniment too.

                        This evening we had some leftovers with a fried egg layered in and it really took off.