Koshary on a Cloudy Afternoon

January 25, 2014

Egyptian Koshary

Egyptian Koshary

I was married to an Egyptian when I was 25.  It did not end well.  But…I was able to travel to Alexandria as my marriage was ending.  It was there that I was introduced to Koshary.    I remember arriving in Alexandria after more than 20 or so hours of travel time and pulling up to the apartment house in my rag-tag-taggety taxi.   The building was ancient, painted turquoise, crumbling.  There was a huge atrium where everyone would gather outside of their apartments and socialize and watch the goings on.   When I arrived, I would say it was a huge goings on.   Tall, blonde and American, I was a site to behold for this congregation of elderly housewives.   I was hushed into the apartment and I met my mother-in-law for the first time.  Beautiful, jovial and not a word of English.  We smiled and laughed and I used every one of my broken Arabic words to get myself settled in to this slice of life that was so very foreign to me.

Egypt has been in the news so very much lately, I think of her and wonder if she is still alive.  We had three weeks together more than 25 years ago,  and I still remember watching her prepare the meals.  She had a simple way, not overly spicy, not fussy.  I remember the morning she took me to the market to purchase cheese and fresh spices.  It was this day that she prepared a simple Koshary for our luncheon.



There are many different ways to prepare this dish, some add pasta, chickpeas and hot chili sauce, but my mother-in-law made it this way and I make it just as she did all those years ago.  I don’t have a recipe, she taught me to add handful of this and a pinch of that, never any measurements.



  1. Poor Egypt with the terrible bombings…Your story is so interesting – what a wonderful experience you shared.

    Comment by Lizthechef — January 25, 2014

  2. Thanks Liz! I have many more stories from this period, don’t know if the blog can handle them!

    Comment by wendyread — January 25, 2014

  3. What a wonderful tale! Like the sound of this, I love food like this! Its jogged a memory. I think I’ve had something similar, somewhere in the world! Love your pictures.

    Comment by Jayne — January 26, 2014

Leave a comment