Jihan Abou El Arab and her family moved from the United Arab Emirates to Canada five years ago. When I asked Jihan what her first impression of Canada was she explained that before settling in Canada, her family came to Canada for a summer vacation and had a great time exploring Canada’s beauty. Jihan added that coming for a visit and living here are quite different. Although Jihan loved the quiet surroundings of their Shawingan Lake residence, at times it was too quiet. Feeling the need to connect with others, Jihan “pushed herself out” into her new community and quickly made many friends.
Koshary comes from Jihan’s home country of Egypt, it is a very healthy vegetarian dish that is easily found in restaurants, small cafeterias, and street food trucks in Egypt. Jihan recommends, “If you go to Egypt, you need to have it there.”
Jihan learned to cook while in university. Her neighbors at the time noticed that Jihan was always having sandwiches so they taught her a few recipes. With the lessons from her university neighbors, a few YouTube videos, her cookbooks and some help from her sister, Jihan has perfected this Egyptian favorite. For a time, Jihan sold this dish along with other delicious dishes at the Duncan Farmer’s Market and people loved it! It alway sold out, people liked the spice and that it was something new from a different country.
- Rice ( short grain ) .
- Macaroni pasta .
- Spaghetti .
- Green Lentils .
- Onion, chopped finely .
- Garlic, minced .
- Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes .
- Pepper flakes or ground.
- Cumin ground.
- Cinnamon ground.
- pepper — to taste
- Vegetable Oil for frying.
- Onion, sliced thinly –
- Salt and pepper — to taste.
- Garbanzo Beans (canned).
- Bay Leaf. (whole).
- white vinegar.
- Cook the rice and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until done. Cook the macaroni according to package directions, or until al dente. Simmer the lentils and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until tender.
- While the rice, pasta and lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and wilted. Stir in the tomato sauce and pepper flakes, add white vinegar and a little ground cumin, simmering tomato sauce reduce heat to medium-low a.. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Add the sliced onions and fry until they turn brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
- Place the rice, macaroni and lentils in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir together gently with a fork. Portion the mixture into individual bowls and spoon some tomato sauce over each portion. Top with a spoonful of cooked chickpeas on top and crispy fried onions and serve hot or at room temperature.
4- roasted eggplant salad:
- vegetable oil
- olive oil
- garlic (minced or pressed)
- chilies (Thai, minced)
- Tomatoes chopped very fine.
- lemon juice.
- Cut eggplant in half and then into 1/4” half moons.
- Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and let stand in a colander for 30 minutes to an hour to draw moisture out of the eggplant. Give the slices a quick rinse to remove most of the salt without saturating the eggplant. Place the slices between two clean kitchen towels to dry off.
- Combine olive oil, garlic, 4 T balsamic vinegar, chilies and salt and pepper.
- Lay Eggplant in a flat dish and cover with marinade. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- Grill eggplant slices over medium high heat (350-400) for approximately 2-3 minutes a side, or until you get good grill marks.
- Remove from grill and sprinkle with remaining vinegar and chopped parsley. The eggplant can be served immediately or at room temperature.
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