Ingredients (Serves 4)
My friend and I and a bunch of back-packers we found in a hostel, visited Abou Tarek’s kushary house, essential if you’re in downtown Cairo, and it was absolutely heaving. Awkwardly the management shifted a family off a table so that we could all sit together to sample their national dish, but it was awesome. Just the right level of spice to be warming and not too hot; it’s hearty and filling. Of course if you can’t quite make it to Cairo and you don’t fancy cooking, you can pick up a pretty lush bowl of it in Borough Market too.
Kushary is completely unique amongst all the dishes I have tried in different places. Not only does it combine every type of starch imaginable in a seemingly unnecessary, yet ultimately brilliant carb-load, but in Cairo it is literally bigger than The Beatles. There are pop songs about it. Music videos. Whole buildings dedicated to it. Abou Tarek, host of Cairo’s most famous kushary house, is a national hero and has achieved rock star status; I know because I have his CD – a combination of jangling Arabic music, base-dropping beats and the words ‘kushary, kushary!’