Local Cuisine & Traditional Food
Egyptian food recipes roots grow from the diversity of Egyptian culture which was influenced by foreign invasion, trade with other nations and hospitalilty of Egyptians to others. Main influence to Egyptian cuisine came from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. Egyptian added their flavor to foreign dishes and also their names.
Agriculture has always been the main achievement of Egyptians through their history and vegetables constitute the main ingredient of most Egyptian dishes in additions to meat (beef and chicken). Fruits are eaten as dessert after a meal with many other sweet dishes that Egyptians excel at making.
Egyptians serve both freshwater and seagoing fish under the general term of (Samak). The best fish seem to be near the coasts (ocean variety) or in Aswan, where they are caught from Lake Nasser. As well as the common bass and sole, there are shrimp, squid, scallops, and eel. The latter, a white meat with a delicate salmon flavoring, can be bought on the street already deep-fried.
Native cheese (Gibna) comes in two varieties: gibna beida, similar to feta, and gibna rumy, a sharp, hard, pale yellow cheese. These are the ones normally used in salads and sandwiches.
Egyptian desserts of pastry or puddings are usually drenched in honey syrup. Baklava (filo dough, honey, and nuts) is one of the less sweet; fatir are pancakes stuffed with everything from eggs to apricots, and basbousa, quite sweet, is made of semolina pastry soaked in honey and topped with hazelnuts.
Bouzat haleeb or ice cream is a totally different experience from the rich American ice cream. Its quite light and gummy in texture. It actually stretches a bit as you spoon it.
Some famous Egyptian dishes
Melokhia or Molokhya A traditional dish in Egypt is Melokhya which is a soup made from a leafy green summer vegetable called Molokhya or Melokhya and served with rice and meat or chicken. You can eat it with bread or rice or both.
Rice made in different ways with nuts, onion, vegetables and meat. Also rice can be stuffed in grape leafs with spices and sometimes meat to make Warak el enab which is a popular meal in Egypt. Rice is the main ingredient in Mah-shi or stuffed food which is made with either cabbage, koussa or grape leaves.
Peas are cooked in spiced dem'a or baldman.
Potatoes are either fried, boiled or stuffed. Potatoes are also cooked in tomatoes baldman.
Imagine, mixing into a single dish, pasta, rice, lentil, chick peas, onions and garlic and adding to this chili sauce. The idea sounds horrific, until one tries out an Egyptian favorite called Koshary.
Koshary is considered a meal that is inexpensive yet fills up the stomach of an average Egyptian. It’s eaten anytime, anywhere. I can eat it standing, sitting, at work or at home. It’s a meal that is both affordable and delicious.
We list here some sweet desserts which is popular in Egypt:
- Basbousa is a type of sweet made of semolina pastry and soaked in honey and tapped with hazelnuts.
- Baklawah (filo dough, honey, and nuts)
- Um Aly (very popular in Egypt) is a raisin cake soaked in milk.
- Konafa (mainly eaten in Ramadan)
- Katayef (mainly eaten in Ramadan)