The ancient Egyptians loved food. You can still see proof of this in the many well-preserved wall paintings and carvings on the walls of tombs and temples. And, since many of the foods that were eaten in Ancient Egypt are still popular today, you can still eat those beloved foods.
Like many other cultures, Egyptian cuisine varies by region. Typically, the foods of southern Egypt tend to be spicier than those in the north. Overall, though, the food tends to be highly vegetarian with lamb, poultry, and fish as the most common sources of meat.
While the centuries have brought influential flavors and techniques from other parts of the world—first from the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans, and more recently from the Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians—Egyptian cuisine has remained unique. And that makes for some exciting cuisine opportunities for you to sample--and share with your family or friends!
While methods of food preparation vary as you travel up and down the Nile River, the ingredients remain relatively similar.
Traditionally, Egyptians eat seated on layered decorative rugs around a low table that is heavily laden with foods that can be eaten by hand or scooped with pita bread. You could try this around, say, the coffee table in your living room, for an authentic experience.
But, even if you go with the typical American preference—taller tables that require chairs—you can still enjoy a family-style meal that feels authentic. Prepare several dishes of food your friends and family can share around the table—and provide no utensils, just pita triangles. After dinner, enjoy some fresh fruit for dessert or a nice cup of Arabic coffee to finish off the meal traditionally.
A variety of dishes, because of their wide consumption regardless of region, are considered to be “national” cuisine. While the flavorings and methods of preparation may vary, the majority of Egyptians enjoy these meals:
Depending on where you are in Egypt—the Upper or Lower Nile or the coast of the Mediterranean or Red seas—the seasonings and additional ingredients will vary to reflect the diets and cultures of that part of the country.
If you want to spice up your next cookout with a little Egyptian flavor, kebabs are definitely the way to go!
3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into chunks
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
16 bamboo skewers, soaked [http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/29408-chefs-bamboo-skewers.aspx?sourcecode=EW1SM1093]
In a bowl combine olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, ginger, coriander, paprika, turmeric, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the lamb (cut into chunks).
Thread the lamb pieces onto soaked bamboo skewers and marinate for 2 to 12 hours.
Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Grill until medium rare about 2-3 minutes on each side, or to your desired doneness.
2, 15-ounce cans chick peas (garbanzos), one drained, one with liquid
1/4 cup (35 g) raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt, to taste
Place all ingredients, except salt, into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. Blend 1 minute, using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades. Season to taste with salt.
1 large, black, firm eggplant
2 tablespoons lemon juice (more to taste if desired)
1 to 2 tablespoons tahini*
1 clove garlic (optional)
Take eggplant and wash. Score or pierce and roast in oven at 400 F. May cover with aluminum foil to keep skin soft. (This can also be cooked in the microwave for 6-8 minutes depending on size, but the flavor will be richer if roasted in the oven.)
After roasting, scrape inside away from skin (or you may choose to cut off top and bottom, and include the skin.)
Place eggplant in food processor. Add lemon juice, tahini, garlic clove (if desired). Process until smooth.
Spread on platter and garnish with Sumac**.
*Tahini is a sesame seed paste. It may be purchased at a Middle Eastern grocery. It will separate, and become very thick at the bottom, with a layer of oil on the top. Just stir occasionally to mix.
**Sumac is a red spice with seeds. When ground, it makes a pretty garnish to Humus and Baba Ghanouj. It is slightly tart, like lemon, only not as intense. May be found at a Middle Eastern grocery.
Recipe courtesy of Gerry Faraj.
1 15 ounce can of small fava beans*
1 tablespoon Tahini**
1 clove minced garlic
The juice of 1 small lemon
A pinch of salt
Drain can of small fava beans, drain and reserve liquid. Place the beans and remaining ingredients in a food processor and spin coarsely.
If it is stiff at first, add the reserved liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. (If you do not have a food processor, this dip turns out well by mashing the beans with a fork or potato masher, then stirring in the rest if the ingredients.)
Spread over a platter and garnish with chopped tomatoes and parsley. Serve with pita bread.
*Fava beans come large and small. The large ones are good warmed with fresh garlic, lemon, and cumin, and used as a side dish. Small ones work best for the dip.
**Tahini is sesame seed paste. It (and the Fava beans) may be purchased at a Middle Eastern grocery. Tahini will separate, becoming very thick at the bottom, with a layer of oil over the top. Just stir occasionally to mix.
Recipe courtesy of Gerry Faraj.
The smallest red cabbage will make enough salad for a two quart bowl. It is best to see if 1/4 cabbage will make enough for your family. The ingredient amounts are for 1/4 cabbage.
1/4 of one red cabbage head
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 small, or 1 large, clove garlic, minced.
1/4 c water
A food processor may be used for fine chopping, but I prefer to chop with a knife. It must be fine chopping, but not mushy.
Place chopped ¼ head cabbage in a bowl.
Mix other ingredients together then toss with cabbage. Cover and refrigerate for two hours before serving. It is nice to make this the day before. Stir before serving.
Amounts of garlic, lemon, and salt may vary according to taste.
Increase amounts for larger amounts of chopped cabbage.
Recipe courtesy of Gerry Faraj.
Categories: Food & Recipes