Why don't Egyptians eat a lot of meat

Egyptian cuisine: a look at the plate

Those who live in Egypt also get to know and love the local cuisine. Why not try something oriental as a tourist?Astrid and Andreas present your favorite dishes and show which ones you can easily cook at home. So you can bring a little holiday feeling home with you.

Staple food in Egypt

The basis of Egyptian cuisine is made up of rice, potatoes, chickpeas, aubergines, beans and noodles, i.e. foods rich in carbohydrates. There is also no savings on oil and deep-frying seems to be a common hobby among the population.

The local cuisine offers many vegetarian dishes, as meat is very expensive here and is therefore rarely used as the main ingredient. If there's meat, it's mostly chicken. There are beef and lamb on the high feast days and since the meat cannot mature in the air for several days or weeks due to the heat, it is very tough and is usually cooked.

Coriander is a herb that is popular in Egyptian cuisine, has a very dominant taste and is often alien to our European taste. It looks very similar to leaf parsley. It is therefore advisable to crush a leaf and smell it if the taste seems too penetrating.

Typical dishes in Egypt: This is often served on the plate

  • Koshery:An inexpensive and nutritious meal. Small special noodles and chickpeas are mixed, poured with tomato sauce and garnished with a handful of fried onions. You can then season the dish yourself with garlic and hot sauce! Pickled pickled vegetables are served with it.

  • Falafel: Baked balls made from a dough consisting largely of chickpeas.
  • Fuel: A mushy dish made from white beans that is eaten with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers in a flatbread.
  • Schawerma: Chopped meat mixed with onions, paprika, which is often sold on the street in flat bread or in crepes.
  • Shishtawook: Chicken or beef skewer.
  • Goulesh: Has nothing to do with the German goulash. It is a very elaborate dish made from a kind of puff pastry with bechamel and minced meat filling, similar to lasagna.

Simple starters of Egyptian cuisine

  • Tahini, a cream made from sesame seeds and oil, is always served as a starter with flatbread. The base mass is available ready-made in the supermarket and is mixed with oil until it is creamy. This basis can also be maintained in Germany. Tahini tastes a bit nutty and can be varied with different ingredients. In the fish restaurant, tahini is mixed with salted herring, which has been cut into very small pieces. It tastes great!
  • Papganoug is tahini with eggplant. The aubergines are peppered with garlic, cooked in the oven and then only the pulp is mashed with a fork and mixed with the tahini.
  • Hummus is tahini with chickpeas. These are cooked soft and mixed with tahini.

The creams are eaten with flatbread, salad and vegetables.

The creams are often found in the menu with salads. These are not dressed with a dressing like we do. Tomato and cucumber slices, carrots and sometimes cabbage are only served with a little lemon.

It is actually not customary for the Egyptians to divide the meal into starters and main courses. Starters and main courses are all served together and eaten in one go. That is also the reason why the menus in the restaurants do not contain a classic menu sequence.

Freshly caught fish from the sea

Of course there is also freshly caught fish to eat here. In Hurghada there are various restaurants around the fish market that put the fresh fish on ice to choose from. “Buri”, a fish from the Red Sea that is grilled or poached, is particularly popular. Tuna also comes from the Red Sea here.

Note: Shrimps and other crustaceans mostly come from the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria. Salmon is generally imported and is therefore not often on offer.

Recipe: homemade couscous salad

Personally, I prefer to make couscous because it is quick to prepare and you can use any leftover vegetables with the ingredients.

And this is how it works:

Put the couscous or bulgur in a bowl and pour the hot vegetable stock over it, just enough to cover it well. Just let it soak for 20 minutes.

During this time, the remaining ingredients are cut into small pieces: garlic, onions, parsley (if you want, coriander) and fresh tomatoes are always included. Optionally, all the vegetables you like can be added.

Marinate the vegetables with plenty of oil and season with salt, pepper, paprika, chilli, cinnamon and turmeric. Mix all ingredients well and mix with the swollen couscous

Conclusion: the Egyptian cuisine

If you are on holiday in Egypt, you should take the opportunity to get to know the culinary diversity. In addition, it is best to skip one or the other dinner in the hotel and go to the local restaurants.

Otherwise there is also an oriental corner at the buffet in every hotel, in which typical dishes are offered. You shouldn't miss the opportunity to explore Egypt from a kitchen perspective.