2/3 Recipes from the Middle East - Main Dish وصفات من الشرق الاوسط - أطباق رئيسية

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Maysa Hammoud

2017-04-19 10:04:26
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I've wanted to serve humanity ever since I was a young child.  However, I got married, became a mother the following year (1989) and never had complete freedom to do so until now.  This is and has always been my calling.

My name is Maysa Hammoud and I’m an Egyptian first generation American.  Now that I have reached the ripe old age of 52, I’m able to exercise my passion more freely. My first trip alone as a humanitarian was to Kenya in 2011.  I went with some lightly used clothes and $5,500 collected through my organization; Pearls of Hope - USA, to dig a water well in a place called Sankuri, Kenya.  I’ve been involved in humanitarian work ever since.


Through my travels and marrying into a Syrian/Palestinian/Kurdish family, I learned many amazing recipes.  Although many of  them are extremely good, here I will be featuring a famous Egyptian dish with a Syrian twist.


Koshari with a twist

Main Ingredients

1 cup of white rice (i.e. Egyptian)

1 cup of soaked brown lentils

1 package of elbow macaroni

1 can washed ready-made chickpeas

1 TBS coconut oil (for rice)

1 tsp salt & 3 C water (for rice)

1 TBS vegetable oil (for pasta)

1 tsp salt (for pasta)

1 tsp salt & 2 C water (for lentils)

½ pot water (for pasta)

Sauce & Topping Ingredients

10 chopped onions (lengthwise)

5 chopped cloves of garlic (lengthwise)

3 TBS apple cider vinegar

2 TBS coconut oil

6 diced skinless ripe tomatoes

1/2 C tomato paste (more if desired)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 TBS (if desired) of red pepper flakes

1 TBS pomegranate molasses

2 or 3 C water (for tomato paste)



  1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Stir in rice for a few minutes until totally coated with oil. Add 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Cook the macaroni in lightly salted and oiled water until it starts to boil then give it a couple of stirs and take it off the stove top, cover it and leave it (about 8-10 minutes). Strain in a colander and return to pot.  Set aside.
  3. Take the lentils that have been soaked in water for about half an hour, drain and rinse, twice.  Measure two cups of water, add the lentils and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes until lentils are tender. Add half a teaspoon of salt.
  4. Put one tablespoon of coconut oil into a large frying pan and heat. Add the onions and cook on medium/high heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are browned. Add garlic and cook for another minute and then drain the mixture on a paper towel.
  5. Take half of the onion mixture, place into a saucepan and add the vinegar, chopped skinless tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper 2 teaspoons of salt, the red pepper flakes and the pomegranate molasses and bring to a boil and water. Mixture should have a thick sauce like consistency. If it feels like a paste or too watery, add half a cup of boiling water or tomato paste accordingly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.
  6. Before serving, bring out a rectangular Corningware and in a layering pattern place the rice, the macaroni, the lentils, followed by the chickpeas and top with the caramelized browned onions and sauce and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. An alternative way is to prepare individual bowls in the same way and leave each person to put their own amount of sauce on top.

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