Fifi Makhmer, 62 years old – Cairo, Egypt
Fifi was born in the desert, 4 hours to the south of Il Cairo, in a village along the river Nile. That’s where she spent the first 20 years of her life, until when she got married and, thanks to her husband, moved to the city. She lives with her husband and two of her three children in a small house in the Eastern outskirts of the capital city. Her eldest son got married two years ago and made her a grandmother. She has always been a housewife and cooked for the whole family. Her children say she is the best cook ever, while, instead, she says she doesn’t know much about cooking and can only prepare simple dishes.
Kuoshry (pasta, rice and legumes pie)
Time: 1 hour
– 1 onion, 2 tomatoes
– 1 dish of chickpeas, 1 of lentils and 1 of rice
– 1 packet of spaghetti and 1 of small macaroni
– oil, spices and salt
– tomato sauce
The first thing to do for the Kuoshry is breaking spaghetti in 2cm-long bits.
– Then, in a pot, boil a plate of rice, small macaroni and the bits of spaghetti. Let everything cook until the rice is ready (at that point the pasta should be very soft – overcooked for the Italian style – but that’s what you need for this recipe!)
– Boil also the chickpeas and lentils (in two separate small pots) until they are soft enough.
– While they are cooking, chop thinly 1 onion and fry it in hot olive oil until it becomes crispy. Drain it from the oil and keep it on a side to use it as a decoration for our dish at the end.
– When pasta and rice are ready and so are lentils and chickpeas, place everything together in a pan and mix, adding spices to your liking. Leave some chickpeas on a side for the final decoration.
– Now place the mixture into a ring-shaped pudding mould (it’s up to you if you prefer to use just one big mould or small ones for individual portions), pressing it well inside to make it compact. Then overturn it on a dish and take the mould away: what you get is a sort of pasta, rice and legumes pie.
– Garnish the pie with some chickpeas in the central hole and stripes of tomato sauce on the sides. Spread the crispy onion bits on top of the dish.
Your dish is ready to be enjoyed.