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Egyptian Cuisine: What Makes It Unique?

Updated on May 15, 2022

Diversity of The Egyptian Cuisine

Egyptian cuisine is one of the richest cuisines worldwide, for having a great combination of the original ancient Egyptian food along with numerous dishes from other cultures with Egyptian modifications which gave it its unique type.

When you take a tour inside it, you will find some dishes of Pharaonic origin and others of Arab, Turkish, Indian and many other cultures, according to the peoples who lived for periods in Egypt side by side to the Egyptian people throughout all its history.

Foul & Ta’ameya


Pharaonic Dishes

Though the most famous dishes in Egypt are Foul & Ta’ameya (Foul is bean which we make in many ways by adding different spices and oil or butter) & Taameya is made of ground bean mixed up with leek, garlic, parsley, cilantro and dill then goes for frying in deep oil), there are other ones that came to us from the Pharaonic age and lived all those times with no change. They are, for instance:

1- Weika; Chopped okra with a great amount of garlic and lemon juice.

2- Al-Shamsi; Sun Bread. The dough is left under the sunlight till bread is done.

3- Shalawlaw; Dried and ground Molokhia leaves (Mallow leaves) in cold water with a big amount of garlic and lemon juice.

4- Molokhia Khadra; Green molokhia leaves in broth with fried garlic and dry cilantro.

5- Kolkas; Cubes of taro in broth with fried chard and garlic.

6- Freek; Green wheat cooked in broth with chopped onions)

More and above, we cannot ignore the very ancient Egyptian meal that no Egyptian house celebrates Sham El Nessim (Easter) without. It is Fessikh; intensely salted fish and Renga; salted and smoked fish presented with lots of lemon juice, oil and lettuce.



Popular Dishes

In addition, upper Egypt and delta are known for dishes like:

1- Tajine or casserole of vegetables, cooked in tomato sauce added to lightly fried onions and meat or chicken.

2- Tajine or casserole of meat, or different parts of the cow/ buffalo like legs kaware’e, lumbar Akawi.

3- Tajine or casserole of Fish and Seafood, cooked in stew or grilled just with oil, lemon juice and vegetables like onions, green pepper and tomatoes on top. This dish is also very common in coast cities like Alexandria, Port said.

Tajines are clay pots which are very healthy utensils, especially those made in Aswan thanks to the Nile’s mud.

4- There is also the most famous and tasty dish Egyptians love; it is Mumbar (cow/ buffalo’s intestines). It is prepared (after deep cleaning) as stuffed with rice mixed up with tomato sauce, onions, dill, parsley, green cilantro and spices. And is cooked in boiled water, then fried in deep oil.

5- Hawawshi; A mix of minced meat, onions, tomatoes, and green pepper put uncooked in an Egyptian bread, or between two layers of dough and get cooked altogether In the oven.

6- Feteer Meshaltet; Baked pies, eaten with honey, molasses, white salted cheese, or old cheese Mesh.



Egyptian Dishes of different Origins

Apart from the pure Egyptian dishes, there are other ones of different origins:

1- Mahshi; is a Turkish dish, but Egyptians made some modifications to it. It is stuffed types of vegetables with rice blended with tomato sauce, onion, dill, parsley, green cilantro and spices. Mahshi types are stuffed cabbage, stuffed zucchini, stuffed green pepper, stuffed eggplants,and stuffed grape leaves. They are presented hot after being cooked in broth as a main course in Egypt, unlike in Turkey, it is presented cold and as starters.

2- Kushari; is an Indian dish. It is a mix of rice, lentil (brown or yellow), pasta, caramelized chopped onions on top with hummus and a little of tomato sauce. If desired, a little of a mix of vinegar and garlic.

3- Kebab & Kofta; is a Turkish dish. It consists of meat pieces and meat sticks, grilled above a net on fired coal.

4- Fattah; This dish is taken from the peninsula of Arabia. It consists of layers of; pieces of toasted bread wet with broth, white rice, tomato sauce and meat pieces on top, and then adding fried garlic and vinegar on all.




Kebab & Kofta

As a matter of fact, there are more and more recipes of Egyptian tasty dishes unlisted here, but since Egypt’s history is very rich, the same applies on Egyptian cuisine, and that is what made it phenomenal.


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