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Recipe of the Week Posted on 1st July 2011


If you haven’t realized already, I am slightly obsessed Ottolenghi. Thank goodness each and every one of their recipes is scrumptious, otherwise I ‘d be dropped as head chef of the house.

I tried my best to find a non-Ottolenghi inspired dish for you this week for a bit of variety, but kept coming back to this wonderful Kosheri recipe that I can’t stop cooking. This is the dish that never fails to please everyone (even the fussiest of eaters of all ages). And here I am, raving on about texture again, but the combination of rice, lentils and vermicelli noodles is a treat for the senses and takes these simple ingredients to a new level .

It goes beautifully with the lamb kebabs or marinated rack of lamb with coriander and honey (from same cookbook) or you can just enjoy it as a meal in itself. I’ve included the spicy tomato sauce that Yotam recommends, but he also suggests serving the rice with cucumber, tomato and yogurt salad.


Ingredients: 300g green lentils, 200g basmati rice, 40g unsalted butter, 50g vermicelli noodles (broken into 4cm pieces), 400ml chicken stock or water (or vege stock-I think is tastier than using water if you don’t eat meat), ½ tsp grated nutmeg (see note below), 1&½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1&1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp blk pepper, 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 white onions (halved & thinly sliced)

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE: 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 2 chillies (see note below) seeded & finely chopped (he says hot but I use mild for the kids), tin diced tomatoes, 370ml water, 4 tbsp cider vinegar, 3tsp salt, 2 tsp ground cumin, 20g coriander leaves, chopped.

Method: 1. Start with the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan; add garlic and chilies & fry for 2 minutes. 2. Add the chopped tomatoes water, vinegar, salt and cumin. 3. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20mins, until slightly thickened. 4. Removed the sauce from the heat, stir in coriander and taste and add salt, pepper or extra coriander if needed. 5. Keep hot or leave to cool-both ways are ok with the hot kosheri. I do prefer the sauce on the warm side. 6. To make the kosheri, place the lentils in a large sieve and wash them under a cold running tap. 7. Transfer to a large saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. 8. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 mins. The lentils should be tender but far from mushy. Drain in a colander and leave to one side. 9. In a large bowl, cover the rice with cold water, wash and then drain well. 10. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over med heat. 11. Add the raw vermicelli, stir and continue frying and stirring until the noodles turn golden brown. 12. Add the drained rice and mix well until it is coated in the butter 13. Now add the stock, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. 14. Bring to the boil, cover and then reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for 12 mins. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover the pan with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on. Leave like that for about 5 mins-this helps make the rice light and fluffy (I often leave for longer-up to 15mins and it’s ok). 15. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan; add the onions and sauté over med heat for about 20 mins, until dark brown. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain. 16. To serve, lightly break up the rice with a fork and then add the lentils & most of the onions reserving a few for garnish (note: my hubbie can’t eat onion so I just serve it on the side). Taste again for seasoning and adjust accordingly. 17. Pile the rice high on a serving platter and top with the remaining onions. Serve hot with the tomato sauce.

NOTES: NUTMEG:I have recently started using fresh nutmeg & it is a revelation. The flavour is deep and pure, but best of all I love how woody nutmegs look on the inside and the amazing shapes you can discover.

CHILLI: There are many recipes I use that include chilli. While I know that nothing beats the fresh variety, I confess to often using a good variety of jarred chilli to avoid the risk of wiping it in one of my kid’s eyes (or my own for that matter).

photo from Ottolenghi

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