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Friday, April 2, 2010

Egyptian Cuisine

Egyptian Cuisine
Egyptian cuisine reflects the country’s melting pot history. Native cooks who use local ngredients have modified Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian traditions to suit Egyptian budgets, customs and taste.Dishes are simple. They are made with naturally ripened fruit and vegetables and fresh spices. Honey was a great addition to the Egyptian diet and was commonly substituted for sugar.

Appetizers or Mezze are usually offered on a large platter or table and several different kinds are served.

Appetizers:
Fatush – a loaf of local crisp bread is cut into small pieces, sprinkled with cold water and place in a salad bowl. Then chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic cloves, lettuce and fresh mint leaves are placed over the bread. Lemon juice, sumac, salt and oil are poured over all and tossed.
Fried Eggs with White Cheese – hard white cheese is sliced and fried in a skillet on both sides. Remove cheese and keep warm. Break eggs in skillet and fry. Serve the eggs along with the cheese. Season to taste.
Hamam Mahsh bi Burghul – Cornish hens are skinned and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Chopped onion, fresh lemon juice, vegetable oil, cardamom, cinnamon and allspice are processed until smooth. Combine hens and onion mixture in a plastic bag and marinade in fridge for 1 hour turning bag occasionally. Remove hens and discard marinade. Bake hens for 35 minutes. Meanwhile prepare bulgur, soak currants in water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Bring broth to boil, add bulgur, cinnamon, salt and pepper and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Stir in currants, pine nuts and butter. Serve with hens.
Hardboiled eggs a la Alexandria – peel and slice tomatoes. Fry an onion and then add tomatoes. Shell hardboiled eggs, leaving them whole, slide onto the tomato mixture. Cook 5 min. Remove the eggs, halve, arrange on a serving dish and cover with tomato mixture.
Igga baladi Omelet – 4 – 6 eggs are beaten and sifted flour, cinnamon and seasoning is added. Fry onion and stir in beaten eggs and fry. Lift edges as egg sets. Turn over and fry until both sides are golden. Omelets are usually served in thick slices.
Tahina (a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds) Sauce – to tahina add water, lemon juice, salt, cumin and vinegar. Blend thoroughly.

Soup is called shorbat in Middle Eastern countries. To make soup authentically Egyptian don’t skimp on the spices.

Soups:
Chicken Soup with Eggs and Lemon – set aside some cold soup and boil the rest of the chicken stock. Beat egg whites until frothy and then add lemon juice and cold soup. Stir until blended. When the soup is nearly boiling, add the egg mixture and cook on low, stirring to thicken, do not allow soup to boil.
Hot and Sour Soup – chicken stock, lemon grass and lime rind are brought to a boil. Then the stock is strained and returned to the pan. Seasoned with salt, lime juice, chili paste and sugar. Stir well. Then straw mushrooms, bean sprouts and spring onions are added and simmered. Afterwards prawns are added and heated through. Serve in individual bowls, sprinkle with chili slices and coriander leaves.
Meat Soup or Fatta – a broth is made by simmering pieces of beef or lamb in water with salt and pepper, and whole onion until the meat is tender. Discard onion. Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside. In frying pan fry meat until browned and remove to a serving bowl. Fry garlic and stir the contents of the frying pan and vinegar into the broth and bring to a boil. Just before serving Arabic pita bread in broken up into the soup. Meat and rice are served separately. Allowing each person to serve themselves.
Shorbet Ads (Lentil Soup) – onions, carrots, and tomatoes are chopped into pieces. Stock is placed into a large pot and brought to a boil. Then onions, carrots, tomatoes and red lentils are added and cooked until lentils are tender. Afterwards the mixture is pureed and returned to the pot. Onions are sautéed in olive oil and then cumin, lemon juice, the sautéed onions, salt and pepper are added to the soup.

In Egypt salad is called salatat. The salads are similar to the Raita, a common side in India. Salads are light and yogurt is almost always used. They are perfect when trying to dull the palate from a spicy meal.

Salads:
Cucumber Chickpea Salad – mix olive oil and red wine vinegar and set aside. Combine chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, mined onions, sliced celery, chopped cucumber, minced garlic, dill and salt and pepper. Toss with the dressing and chill before serving.
Lemon and Garlic Potato Salad – boiled red potatoes are combined with chopped parsley, minced garlic cloves, lemon juice, vegetable oil and salt and pepper.
Salatit Krumb – sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, water, salt and pepper are whisked together until the sugar is dissolved. Then cabbage, carrots, scallions and parsley are added and tossed well.

Meat dishes:
Chicken and Pasta Corniche – a chicken is cut into pieces and browned and set aside. Onions and garlic are sautéed. Then water, tomatoes, dry red wine, vinegar, cloves, bay leaves, paprika and cinnamon are added and brought to a boil. Afterwards the chicken is added and cooked until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken and the bay leaves and cloves. Skim fat from sauce and set aside. Cook pasta then drain and stir into the sauce and heat through. Adjust seasonings. Serve pasta with grated parmesan and the chicken.
Egyptian Kofta – beef and onions are minced twice. Bread is soaked in milk and added to the meat along with salt and pepper. Mixed well and shaped into rounds. Then grilled or fried on skewers until cooked.
Lamb with Rice – lamb is cut into cubes and simmered with onions, coriander, salt and pepper and a little water until tender. Then water and milk are added to the stock and brought to a boil. Rice is stirred in and cooked until the rice is tender. The meat is arranged on top of the rice and melted butter is poured over all.
Kebab Halla – beef is cut into cubes. Flour, cinnamon and seasoning are mixed together and the meat is rolled in this. Then the meat is cooked with onion and salt over a slow flame. When juice is reabsorbed, add garlic and cooking oil and fry lightly. The water is added to just cover and cooked over low heat for one hour adding more hot water as needed. The meat is served with the juice.

Fish:
Baked Fish – flounder, sole or red snapper fillets are arranged in a baking dish. Sprinkled with parsley, lemon juice and seasoned salt. Onion and garlic are fried. The fish is topped with the onion and garlic then tomatoes are arranged on top and lemon slices are put between the tomato slices. White wine is poured over all and baked until fish flakes easily.
Fish Casserole with Hulled Grain – Fish is coated with flour then fried and removed to cool. Skin, bone and flake into large chunks. The skin, bones and trimmings are boiled with cardamom and strained. Afterwards hulled grain is fried lightly and then covered with the fish stock and cumin and garlic are added. Cooked for 10 min removed from heat and placed into a casserole dish. Fish flakes are then buried in the grain and baked.
Lemon Seafood Pasta – pasta is boiled in salted water with lemon juice. Shrimp are sautéed with mushrooms and peppers. When pink and opaque the shrimp is removed. Mushrooms and peppers are cooked until soft. Then lemon juice, diced tomato, Greek dressing, butter and scrod fish cut into large pieces are added to the mushrooms. Saute and add water so the fish steams. Ready when fish flakes easily. Precooked broccoli flowerets and the shrimp are placed back into the skillet. ¼ cup liquid is removed and flour is stirred into the hot liquid until smooth then stirred back into the mixture in the skillet. The sauce will be slightly thickened. Serve over hot pasta.

Chicken and Pasta Corniche
Ingredients
1 large Chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skinned, about 5 pounds
1 Tb. olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, mashed
2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (roma tomatoes are good for this)
1/2 c. dry red wine
1 Tb. wine vinegar
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
pinch paprika
pinch cinnamon
1 lb. Pasta noodles, such as macaroni or other shaped Pasta
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesean
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot and brown the Chicken in batches, over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the Chicken and set aside.
2. Add the onions and garlic and saute', stirring occasionally or until softened.
3. Add 1 2/3 c. water, tomatoes, wine, vinegar, cloves, bay leaves, paprika and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Add Chicken, cover and simmer until the Chicken is tender and the juices run clear, about 45 minutes.
4. Remove the Chicken and keep warm. Remove the bay leaves and cloves from the sauce and discard. Skim the fat from the sauce and set sauce aside.
5. Cook the Pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain and stir into the sauce and heat through. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve Pasta with grated parmesan and with the Chicken.

Baked Fish
Ingredients
1 pound fish fillets (sole, Flounder or red Snapper)
1 Tb chopped parsley
Juice of one fresh lemon (1 Tb)
a Ts. Seasoned salt (or spice such as Old Bay Seasoning)
3 Tb olive oil
1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Large tomato, thinly sliced
3 Slices lemon
2 Tb white wine
Directions
1. Arrange the fish in an 8- or 9- inch-square baking dish.
2. Sprinkle with the parsley, lemon juice and seasoned salt.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the Onion and garlic until limp.
4. Top the fish with the Onion mixture, including the oil from the skillet.
5. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the Onion mixture, than place the lemon slices between the tomato slices.
6. Pour the wine over all and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork. By Rasma Raisters

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