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Roots of Egyptian food

Stuffed grape leaves Molokhia Koshary

Egypt is the gift of the Nile. This is a famous saying by Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian who wrote about Egypt about 2400 years ago. Nile river has indeed been the main influential agent in shaping what Egyptian ate. Although Egypt area is around 1,000,000 square kilometers only  6% inhabited by Egyptians which is constitutes the Nile valley, delta and coastal cities (mainly Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh, Port said, Damietta and Hurghada) while the rest is a lifeless desert.

Ancient Egyptians mainly grew wheat and barley, they used wheat to bake bread (which has always been the main food item in any Egyptian meal) and used barley to make beer. Beer was an ancient national drink in Egypt although wine was the drink for upper classes.

Another main crop Egyptians grew was beans or Foul as its current Egyptian Arabic name. Beans can be cooked in several ways and makes a main Egyptian meal at any time during the day (breakfast, lunch or dinner).

Egyptian recipes

Egyptian food recipes roots grow from the diversity of Egyptian culture which was influenced by foreign invasion, trade with other nations and hospitality 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.

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.

Egyptian desserts

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)

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