Koshary al-Tahrir, one of Cairo’s biggest Koshary chains, has just opened its first branch in London, UK, with the news trending across Egyptian social media.
Egyptians in London filmed videos of the new branch and shared them on social media. Some also posted pictures of the Koshary al-Tahrir menu and the prices of the dishes inside the London branch.
King size – £14.40
Large – £12
Top – £9.60
Tahrir – £7.20
Lentils – £2.40
Fried Onions – £2.40
Chickpeas – £2.40
Garlic Sauce – £1.20
Tomato Sauce – £2.40
Hot Sauce – £1.20
A historical meal
“Khichdi” is said to be the origin of the word Koshary in Sanskrit, which means hidden rice, according to the Food Today website.
Then the word was distorted to Koshary, which means rice with additions.
Koshary consists of pasta, rice, fried onions, tomato sauce, dukkah, and black lentils.
It is said that the black lentils were also called “jibbah lentils” in relation to the scholars of Al-Azhar because they wear a “jibbah”, a cover worn by Al-Azhar scholars, though there is no source that supports this theory.
The first to mention Koshary historically was Ibn Battuta, in his book “Tuhfat al-Anzar fi Gharaaib al-Amsar wa Ajaaib al-Asfar”famously known as Ibn Battuta’s “Rihla” (Journey).
Ibn Battuta described Koshary in India, saying Indians cooked lentils with rice and ate it with ghee, and called it Koshary. He added they had it for breakfast everyday.
The Indian Koshary was a mixture of rice and black lentils, and it was reportedly introduced in Egypt during the trade exchange between the Indian and Egyptian soldiers.
Historical sources state that the Egyptians did not know Koshary until the outbreak of World War I, after the arrival of Indian soldiers with the British forces which imposed protection on Egypt in 1914.
Another theory completely contradicts this, claiming that Koshary was mentioned in al-Jibtana book which contains the religious texts of ancient Egypt.
The book explains that the word “Koshir”, means food of the gods in hieroglyphic language.
It is also said to originate in the French words “Riz cachée”.