Egypt: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Egypt Pyramids Image

Egyptian cuisine goes back 5000 years to the time of the pharaohs. The pyramid builders survived on a diet of onions, garlic, coarse bread and beer. Beer is now out of the picture, but those other basic ingredients, supplemented by tomatoes, okra, eggplant, favas, lentils, pasta and rice, still form the foundation of Egyptian food today. Meat has always been spare for Egyptians, given the small sliver of grazable land either side of the Nile. But dairy cattle provide a variety of farmer-style cheeses, and dishes using domesticated pigeon are favorites.

Egyptian Recipes


(Mediterranean pocket bread; see Pita recipe)

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush Image

(Middle Eastern eggplant dip)

Baba ghanoush is a very popular appetizer and dip in the Middle East. Its smoky, rich flavor of the eggplant goes well with wedges of pita bread or with raw vegetables. Try using it as a sandwich spread or rolled up in wraps. Read more »


Desserts | Basboosa Image

(Egyptian semolina cake)

A favorite Egyptian sweet, basboosa is a semolina cake that is baked and soaked with a floral-scented syrup. Its melting sweetness goes well with a cup of hot coffee or tea. Read more »

Beid Hamine

Ingredients | Eggs Image

(Egyptian slow-cooked eggs)

Beid hamine is an Egyptian dish with origins in Egypt's ancient Jewish community. The long cooking time comes from the Jewish tradition of slow cooking food overnight to serve on Shabbat, when cooking is forbidden. Read more »

Ful Medames

Vegetables | Ful Medames Image

(Egyptian slow-cooked fava beans)

Ful medames is an ancient Egyptian dish with origins that reach back to the time of the pharaohs. This simple dish of slow-simmered fava beans seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and spices is the daily breakfast meal for millions of Egyptians. Read more »

Hamam Mahshi

Country | Egypt | Pigeon Loft

(Egyptian braised squab stuffed with cracked wheat)

Egyptians have kept pigeons, also known as squab, since ancient times, and their mud brick pigeon lofts dot the skyline up and down the Nile. One of their favorite ways of serving pigeon is as hamam mahshi (ha-MAM mah-SHEE), stuffed with cracked wheat and gently braised. Read more »

Hummus bi Tahina

Appetizers | Hummus bi Tahina

(Middle Eastern chickpea and sesame dip)

Hummus is popular appetizer, or meze, throughout the Middle East. Serve with grilled or toasted pita bread cut into wedges. Or use as a sandwich or wrap spread. Read more »


Meats | Kefta Image

(Middle Eastern spiced meatballs)

Spiced meatballs are common in one form or another from Morocco in the west through the Middle East (kefta or kufta), to Greece (keftedes), Turkey (köfte), Armenia (kyufta), Iran (kufteh, or koofteh) and all the way to India (kofta) in the east. All names for these little balls of wonder derive from the Persian verb kuftan, which means "to grind." Read more »


Pastas | Kushari Restaurant

(Egyptian pasta, rice and lentils with tomato sauce)

Kushari is a simple yet healthful dish of pasta, rice and lentils widely sold in small Egyptian restaurants and roadside stands. With its full complement of protein, a spicy topping of tomato sauce and crispy fried onions, kushari is often considered the Egyptian national dish. Read more »


(Middle Eastern lemonade; see Lemonade recipe)


(Egyptian fried fava bean patties; see Falafel recipe)

Also spelled taamiyah, ta'amiyah, taamiya, or ta'amiya. Read more »


Sauces | Taratour Image

(Middle Eastern sesame sauce)

Taratour is a favorite sauce in the Eastern Mediterranean. Serve it with shawarma, fish, falafel, kefta or over vegetables. Sometimes spelled taratoor, taratur or tarator. Read more »