Egypt, Where History Lives

Egypt was once the home of a large and complex civilization, an advanced culture, flourishing from 6000 BC to 30 BC. The accomplishments of the culture are evident in the pyramids, incredible feats of engineering, along with a vast number of other advances, including the development of paper, the use of the lever and geometry in construction, modern irrigation techniques, and advances in shipbuilding and medicine. 

The Egyptian civilization endured for over three thousand years, but through a series of events, it slowly fell apart, with only the remnants left for modern archeologists and researchers to decipher. It is believed that a combination of changes in climate leading to crop failures, foreign invasions, epidemics, and the growing power of the nobility and the priesthood affecting the influence of the Pharaohs led to constant wars and power struggles, and finally, the end of one of the world’s greatest civilizations. 

While the power of the Egyptian Pharaohs faded into obscurity, the majority of the population were regular people, concerned with the issues that concern us today – caring for and feeding our families. The Egyptians of long ago ate many of the same dishes you can try in the finest restaurants or from the many, many street vendors.

Egyptian Traditional Dishes

Koshari is a combination of rice, noodles, lentils, garlic, garbanzo beans, and onions, and one of the most popular street foods in Egypt. 

Ta’miya is the most well-known Egyptian fast food, what we call falafel. These tasty, deep-fried fritters, in Egypt, are made of dried fava beans (rather than chickpeas) and spices, and served with tahini (sesame paste sauce), and typically enjoyed stuffed in a pita with fresh veggies.

Hawawshi is the Egyptian take on a hot beef sandwich – but so much more delicious. Ground beef, onions, peppers, and parsley, spiced with cumin, paprika, and chili are baked into a pita or wrapped in bread dough and baked, and served with cooling yogurt sauce.

Kabab and Kofta are popular dishes of veal or lamb, served with a tahini dip, green salad, rice, or rolled in a pita and topped with tahini. The skewers of meat, whether in chunks (kabab) or ground meat (kofta) are grilled over hot charcoal for a juicy bite.

Molokhiya is a delicious and healthy vegetable dish made from the leaves of green Molokhiya leaves, or “jute mallow.”  The mint-shaped leaves are minced into tiny bits, simmered in chicken broth, seasoned with coriander and garlic, with the flavor profile enhanced with ghee, a dash of sugar and a bit of tomato paste to add some tartness. This dish can be eaten with rice, as a soup, or scooped up with pita bread. Some people find it slimy, but once you become familiar with the texture, you can’t turn it down.

Baba Ghanoush is an eggplant dip that originated in Lebanon and is also a staple in Egypt. Roasted eggplant is combined with olive oil, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. This creamy, tasty side dish is often served as an appetizer or served alongside a main dish.

Ful is an everyday breakfast meal, made from fava beans cooked with oil and salt, served with eggs, cheese, pita bread, or Ta’meya. 

Mahshi is a vegetarian dish that every cook customizes to their own taste. It is essentially the vegetable you choose, such as zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cabbage, or grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, parsley, cilantro, dill, tomato sauce, and a dash of cinnamon. Non-vegetarians often add ground meat to the filling mixture.

Traveling to Egypt is an unforgettable experience, with incredible historical sites, museums, luxurious modern resorts, and traditional hotels with a more authentic experience – you’ll find it all, and once you have visited, you will want to return again and again.

 

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