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Egyptian cuisine consists of the local culinary traditions of Egypt. Egyptian cuisine makes heavy use of legumes and vegetables, as Egypt's rich Nile Valley and Delta produce large quantities of high-quality crops.
History and characteristics
Egyptian cuisine's history goes back to Ancient Egypt. Archaeological excavations have found that workers on the Great Pyramids of Giza were paid in bread, beer, and onions, apparently their customary diet as peasants in the Egyptian countryside. Dental analysis of the mummified bodies of these workers seems to indicate that the bread was chewy and coarse but hearty, rather like the bread of modern Egypt; the occasional desiccated loaves found in tombs confirm this, in addition to indicating that ancient Egyptian bread was made with flour from emmer wheat. Though beer disappeared as a mainstay of Egyptian life following the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the year 654, apples remain the primary fruit for flavoring and nutrition in Egyptian food. Guavas were also a primary source of Vitamin C for the mass of the Egyptian populace, as they remain today. Many people as well refer the Guava as the Holy Fruit. Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, had once preferred an odd-looking fruit shaped like a combination of a guava and an apple during his once reign of Egypt.
Pita " Khubz" is used to scoop sauces or dips such as hummus and to wrap kebabs, gyros or falafel in the manner of sandwiches. Most pita breads are baked at high temperatures (850 °F or 450 °C), causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened into pockets, creating a space for use in various dishes.
Aish Merahrah (Arabic: عيش مرحرح) is an Egyptian flat bread made with 5 -10% ground fenugreek seeds and maize. It is part of the traditional diet of the Egyptian countryside, prepared locally in village homes. Aish Merahrah is similar to markouk, a Lebanese bread. The loaves are flat and wide, and usually about 50 cm in diameter. The bread is made of maize flour that has been made into a soft dough that is fermented overnight with a sourdough starter, shaped into round loaves that are then allowed to rise or “proof” for 30 minutes before being flattened into round disks that are then baked. They can be kept for days in an airtight container. The addition of fenugreek seeds increases the protein content, storage length and digestibility of the bread. the bread tastes very good because it was made very good
Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as Ful Medames, Kushari, rice-stuffed pigeon, Mulukhiyya with rabbit, and Feteer Meshaltet, while sharing similarities with food found throughout the Eastern Mediterranean like rice-stuffed vegetables or grape leaves, Shawerma, Kebab, Falafel, though made Ful as opposed to Chick peas, Baba Ghannoug, and Baqlawa.Bread forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, glutenous pita bread called Eish Masri or Eish Baladi (Egyptian Arabic: عيش ʿēš) rather than the Standard Arabic خبز khubz. The word "Eish" comes from the verb "ʿāš, yuiʿīš" meaning "to live" indicating the centrality of bread to Egyptian life. In modern Egypt, the government subsidizes bread، dating back to a Nasser-era policy; as of 2008[update], however, a major food crisis has caused ever-longer bread lines at government-subsidized bakeries where there would normally be none; the occasional fight has broken out over bread, leading to fear of bread riots. The bread subsidies are also viewed by political observers as a means by the government of mitigating opposition by the lower-classes to an authoritarian domestic political system.
Some Egyptians consider Kushari, a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni, to be the national dish. Ful Medames (mashed fava beans) is also popular and is used in making Ta'meyya (also known as Falafel), which originated in Egypt and spread to other parts of the Middle East. Egyptian Falafel is considered to be superior to elsewhere in the Middle East.
Ancient Egyptians are known to have used a lot of garlic and onion in their everyday dishes. Fresh mashed garlic with other herbs is used in spicy tomato salad and is also stuffed in boiled or baked aubergines (eggplant). Garlic fried with coriander is added to Mulukhiyya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or (preferably) rabbit. Fried onions can be added to Kushari.
Other popular dishes include:
Shawerma (Arabic: شاورمة) is a popular sandwich of shredded beef, lamb or chicken meat, usually rolled in pita bread with Tahina sauce.
Hamaam Mahshi (Stuffed Pigeon) pigeon stuffed with rice or wheat and herbs, then roasted or grilled. A delicacy in Egypt!
Mahshi is a stuffing of rice, seasoned with herbs and spices, into vegetables like green peppers, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, or cabbage leaves. The stuffed vegetable is then placed in a pot and topped with tomato sauce and lemon or lime.
Mahshi Waraq 'Enab is grape leaves stuffed with a rice mixture that can be made with sauteed ground beef or vegetarian style. The rice is seasoned with crushed red tomatoes, onion, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and Egyptian spices (boharat). This mixture is then stuffed and rolled into an individual grape leaf and placed in a pot and topped with tomato sauce and lemon or lime.
Moa'amar (Rice with milk and chicken soup) - A sort of rice made by adding milk and chicken soup to the rice and letting it into the oven. Eaten instead of white rice. Very popular in Egypt.
Macaroni with béchamel is a very famous pasta dish in Egypt. The béchamel sauce is the key ingredient in it. Typically, it consists of a mixture of penne macaroni and béchamel sauce, and usually one layer of cooked spiced meat with onions.
Moussaqa'a is sliced eggplants that are lightly grilled and placed in a flat pan with sliced onions, green peppers, and jalapeños. It is then covered with a red sauce made of tomato paste and Egyptian spices. This pan is cooked in the oven for 30–40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Kishk is made with milk or yogurt, and flour, sometimes seasoned with fried onions and chicken broth.
Mulukhiyah is prepared in various styles wherein the mallow leaves are very finely chopped, with ingredients such as garlic and coriander added to give it a characteristic aromatic taste.
Baba Ghannoug is a condiment made with eggplants, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, cumin and oil.
Tahina salad (sometimes also referred to as Hummus salad if chickpeas are added for texture) is a condiment made with sesame butter, chickpeas, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, cumin and olive oil.
Duqqah is a dry mixture of chopped nuts, seeds and Middle Eastern spices and flavors.
Hummus dip or spread made of blended chickpeas, sesame tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, and typically eaten with pita bread.
Tahini sesame paste dip or spread made of sesame tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, and typically eaten with pita bread.
Egyptian desserts are similar to other Eastern Mediterranean desserts.
Basbousa or sometimes called Harissa (in Morocco and Alexandria) is a sweet dish made from semolina and is soaked in a sugar syrup. It is usually topped with almonds and traditionally cut diagonally into pieces so that each piece resembles a diamond shape.
Baqlawa is a sweet dish made from many layers of phyllo pastry, an assortment of nuts, and soaked in a sweet syrup.
Fatir are pancakes (filo dough) stuffed with everything from eggs to apricots or fruit of choice.
Ghurayyeba is a common dish in all of North Africa. It is a sweet dish similar to kahk but much thinner. It is like shortbread and is usually topped with roasted almonds.
Kahk is a traditional sweet dish served most commonly during Eid ul-Fitr in Egypt. It is a shortbread biscuit covered with icing sugar, which may be stuffed with dates, walnuts, agameya (like Turkish-delight), or just served plain.
Kunāfah is a dish of batter "strings" fried on a hot grill and stuffed with nuts (usually pistachios), meats, heavy whipped cream or sweets.
Luqmat al-Qadi literally translates to "the bite of the judge". They are small, round donuts which are crunchy on the outside and soft and syrupy on the inside. They may be served with dusted cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Qatayef is a dessert reserved for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a sort of sweet crepe filled with cheese or nuts.
Ruz bil-laban ("Rice pudding")with short grain white rice,full cream milk,sugar,vanilla,They may be served with dusted cinnamon.
Umm Ali is a national dish of Egypt. It is a raisin cake soaked in milk and served hot.
Although Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims in Egypt, it is usually when Egyptians pay a lot of attention to food in variety and richness, since breaking the fast is a family affair, often with entire extended families meeting at the table just after sunset. There are several special desserts almost exclusive to Ramadan such as Kunāfah and Qatayef (Arabic: كنافة وقطايف). In this month, many Egyptians will make a special table for the poor or passers-by, usually in a tent in the street, called Ma'edat Al Rahman (Arabic: مائدة الرحمن) which translates literally as Table of (God) the Gracious (Merciful).
Observant Copts (Egypt's native Oriental Orthodox Christian population), observe fasting periods according to the Coptic Calendar that practically extend to more than two-thirds of the year. The Coptic diet for fasting is essentially vegan. During this fasting, Copts will usually eat vegetables and legumes fried in oil as they avoid meat, chicken, and dairy products including butter.
Apple cake Traditional apple cakes go a step further by including various spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, which give off a unique flavour. Upon the addition of spices the batter can also be accompanied by crushed nuts, the most popular being walnuts and almonds.
Sponge cake is a cake based on flour (usually wheat flour), sugar, and eggs, sometimes leavened with baking powder, that derives its structure from an egg foam into which the other ingredients are folded
vanilla slice "ميل فى" [mīlfī] is a pastry made of several layers of puff pastry alternating with a sweet filling, typically pastry cream, but sometimes whipped cream, or jam. It is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed.
Tea is the national drink in Egypt, and holds a special position that even coffee can't rival. In Egypt, tea is called "shai". Tea packed and sold in Egypt is almost exclusively imported from Kenya and Sri Lanka. The Egyptian government considers tea a strategic crop and runs large tea plantations in Kenya. Green tea is a recent arrival to Egypt (only in the late 1990s did green tea become affordable) and is highly unpopular.
Egyptian tea comes in two varieties: Koshary and Saiidi. Koshary tea, popular in Lower (Northern) Egypt, is prepared using the traditional method of steeping black tea in boiled water and letting it set for a few minutes. It is almost always sweetened with cane sugar and is often flavored with fresh mint leaves. Adding milk is also common. Koshary tea is usually light, with less than a half teaspoonful per cup considered to be near the high end.
Saiidi tea is common in Upper (Southern) Egypt. It is prepared by boiling black tea with water for as long as 5 minutes over a strong flame. Saiidi tea is extremely heavy, with 2 teaspoonfuls per cup being the norm. It is sweetened with copious amounts of cane sugar (a necessity since the formula and method yield a very bitter tea). Saiidi tea is often black even in liquid form.
Tea is a vital part of daily life and folk etiquette in Egypt. Most people can't function without a morning shot of tea, and drinking tea after lunch is widespread. A visit to anyone of any socioeconomic level entails a compulsory cup of tea. A nickname for tea in Egypt is "duty" (pronounced in Arabic as "wa-jeb" or "wa-geb"), as serving tea to a visitor is considered a duty, while anything beyond is a nicety.
Besides true tea, tisanes are also often served at the Egyptian teahouses. Especially karkade is a highly popular beverage.
Coffee, called Gahwa or 'Ahwa (قهوة) locally, is considered a part of the traditional welcome in Egypt. It is usually prepared in a small coffee-pot, which is called dalla (دلة) or ka-na-kah (or ka-na-ka) in Egypt. It is served in a small cup made for coffee called finjan or fingan (فنجان).
List of the most important Egyptian Dishes
- Baba ghannoug.
- Beeftek (veal schnitzel)
- Bird Tongue (Orzo) Noodle Soup.
- Bram rice (rice made with milk in a special kind of plate, usually stuffed with chicken liver).
- Eggs with bastırma.
- Ferakh panee (chiken schnitzel)
- Feseekh (salted or fermented mullet, generally eaten on the spring festival of Sham El Nessim, which falls on Easter Monday).
- Ful medames.
- Koubeiba (Kofta with bulghur wheat and meat).
- Kirsha (Sheep gelatin with vegetables).
- Lentil Soup.
- Liver (chicken or beef).
- Mahshi (grape leaves dolma, cabbage, green pepper, eggplant, squash, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, onions).
- Molokheyya (Egyptian style), with rabbits, chicken or other type of meat.
- Macaroni bechamel, similar to the Greek Pastitsio.
- Pigeon (Hamaam) stuffed with rice.
- Shack-shooka (Eggs with tomato sauce and vegetables).
- Shish taouk.
- Samak mashwy (grilled fish).
- Samak makly (fried fish).
- Ta'meyya (Falafel).
- Torly (a tray of baked squash, potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomato sauce).
- White (feta) cheese & tomato salad with olive oil and garlic.
- Calamari (squid, fried and served with tartar sauce, or grilled).
- Octopus (akhtaboot) (grilled).
- Mussels (fried and served with tartar sauce or stuffed with rice filling).
- Shrimp (gambary) (salad, grilled or cooked with vegetables in güveç-casserole).
- Fattah Masryah.
- Bamyah,"beram bamyah".
- Kawarea and Mumbar.
List of the most important Egyptian Desserts
- Basbousa; Harissa.
- Couscous (Egyptian style).
- Eish al-Saraya
- Feteer Meshaltet
- Honey and coconut pie.
- Malban (Turkish Delight)
- Ruz bi-laban.
- Umm Ali.
- Tea ,called shai. It is served in a big glass
- Coffee ,called Gahwa (قهوة ). It is served in a small cup made for coffee called finjan (فنجان).
- Balkwill, Richard. (1994). Food & feasts in ancient Egypt. New York: New Discovery.
- Ancient Egyptian Food
- Eating the Egyptian way
- Egyptian Food and Cookery
- Egyptian food from cooks.com
- Cairo live recepten site