Scarcity is often the mother of wonderful inventions. With a lack of brown rice in the cupboards, adding fireek to your dishes can bring a fantastic new life to old recipes.
This was how my very own recipe for triple-power koshari with fireek came to be born.
Fireek (photo: Blogspot)
Koshari is a classic and well-loved Egyptian carbohydrate-based dish, combining black lentils, pasta and rice topped with whole chickpeas, tomato sauce and well-fried onions. Vinegar, garlic and hot sauce are added to taste, producing the ultimate in comfort and fast food.
Koshari is a filling, protein-based vegetarian meal, and often comes with a side-dish of pickles (‘torshi’) or salad.
As with all meals combining grains, legumes, and wheat, the overall protein quality of the dish is raised by their combination on one plate.
One health-conscious take on the standard version of koshari substitutes brown rice for the common white variety.
But by using fireek instead of rice, it is also possible to raise the anti-oxidant impact of the dish to a delicious new level.
An unrivalled combination of fibre is offered by fireek, lentils, chickpeas, and pasta.
Indeed, just one cup of fireek contains 8 grams of fibre with a cup of pasta holding 5 grams and lentils serving up a strong 15.6 grams. The chickpeas added to the dish also help fuel its antioxidant content.
Preparing fireek (photo: olive this)
In addition to the all-important colon-protecting fibre, fireek-koshari is replete with heart-healthy resveratrol, serotonin, and vital minerals like magnesium, iron, phosphorus and selenium. It also contains vitamins B6, A, C and K among others.
Its low-glycemic content makes fireek-koshhari, more so than rice-based koshari, the perfect dish for type-2 diabetes patients.
Both rice-based and fireek-koshari are prime comfort foods with brain-nourishing lycopene provided in the stewed, tomato-based sauce.
However, fireek-koshari will not suit those who are allergic to wheat products because of its high gluten content. Regular rice-based koshari offers a dish that is lighter in terms of wheat content.
Here is my recipe for triple power fireek-koshari:
One and a half cups of fireek.
One cup of pasta.
One cup of black lentils.
Black Beluga Lentils (photo: Earthy Delights)
One cup of cooked whole chickpeas.
Hummus (photo: backtoherroots)
Soak the fireek and lentils separately, each for one hour.
Separately boil the pasta and the lentils until cooked.
Cook the fireek by adding to it 2 and a half cups of water, a grated onion, salt and pepper. Leave to simmer until done.
Prepare tomato sauce by frying two cloves of crushed garlic in olive oil. Add two tablespoons of tomato paste and two teaspoons of vinegar. Let it simmer in one cup of water.
Add salt, pepper and a dash of hot paprika to taste.
In a separate dish fry a large sliced onion in sunflower oil.
Combine the cooked pasta, fireek and lentils.
For an indulgent extra, sprinkle the oil used in frying the onions over the koshari.
Add the sauce, whole chickpeas, then fried onions.
And there you have it – a nutritional and fibre-strong bowl of delicious triple-power fireek-koshari!