 Egypt is a part of both the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region.

 Cuisine is highly dependant on herbs, garlic, lemon, and vegetables  “ Samnah “ or Ghee is a vital part of day to day cooking.  “ Aish “ is the most consumed component of the Egyptian diet.  “ Foul Medames “ is another important component of daily consumption.

 The great civilization started some 5,000 years ago on the banks of river Nile.  Even the tomb inscriptions talked about the great contribution of Nile in the civilization.  Pyramids are one of the most impressive part of the Egyptian history.  The Egyptians buried food along with the dead bodies as according to them persons soul still needed important things in order to survive after death.  The most famous pyramid is the “ Pyramid of Khufu “.

• River Nile was the main source of irrigation in the ancient times. • Nile swept all the minerals from the Ethiopian plateau into the Egyptian fertile land. • The technique used in the ancient times was : To begin sowing after the subsidence of the Nile and then drive Swine over the ground, pressing the damp soil with their footprints. • The land was sowed in November and then reaped and harvested in April. • The land was fertile enough to support two crops a year.

On the banks of river Nile early man grew the food that nourished the most advanced civilization. The main source of food was Nile as it served the purpose of fishing and transportation. The early food consisted of Wine, Bread, Pickled fish, Honey and Vinegar. “ We are on our way to discovery, but it is the sealed tombs of the dead that will reveal most “.

 Bread is the staple food of most Egyptians.  The various types of Aish( bread ) are:  Aish Shami  Aish Baladi  Aish Shams  Most of these breads are stuffed with several fillings and they also resemble the French style loaves.

 Sweetened dough or cakes are often referred to as : “Food for God”.

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Breads were sweetened by Honey by the rich were as the poor used Dates and Fruit juices. Various shapes made by the Egyptian are : Flat loaf Round loaf and many more. The approximation reaches upto 30 shapes.

 Wine became an important consumer good in the Ramesside times.  The Piramesse took back 1,500 sealed jars of wines on their visit to Egypt.  According to Pliny one Egyptian wine caused Abortions.  The White Mareotic from the Alexandrine region, was pleasant, fragnant, and diuretic.  The Taeniotic wine was pale and oily was aromatically superior to Mareotic and mildly astringent.

 The Thebaid wines, were easily digestible and suitable for fever patients.  The Sebennys, blended from various kinds of grapes, among the sweet Thasian which was known as a laxative.  Wine was drunk by everyone on festive occasions, such as the yearly Hathor celebrations at Bubastis, as Hathor was the Goddess of Love, Joy and Drunkenness.

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Beer was once the national drink of Egypt. Spices were added to improve the taste of the beer. Beer was made in the following manner : One quarter of grain was soaked and left in the sun for a while, rest was baked in order to kill the enzymes. The loaves were then crumbled and mixed with the soaked grains which had fermented. Then water and beer was added and the mixture was left to ferment.

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After fermentation, the mixture was strained and flavouring agents were added. Agents mite have included Dates instead of medieval gruit herbs or modern day hops.

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The famous Nubian beer was bitter, and couldn’t be kept for long in hot climate. Temples had their own breweries.

• Hierakonpolis one of the earliest breweries produced more than Thousand litres a day. • Beer along with bread was an important part of the wages given to workers by their employees. • Beer was considered a more healthier drink than water drawn from the rivers or canal , which was often polluted. • The dead Pharaohs were promised “Bread which doesn’t crumble and Beer which doesn’t turn sour”.

 Mezze is a word used throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.  It is often used to describe appetizers, served before or as a meal.  These small dishes are often served with drinks  Turshi one of the most common dishes cooked in spicy brine is always good with Beer.

 Feseekh : This is one of the most loved starters of Egypt. It’s a sort of salted marinated fish. Semi putrid.  Batarekh : Is a type of Egyptian Caviar.  Sardeen-Memalla : Are salted Sardines.  Bastermah : It’s an elaborate Beef preparation.  sogo2 : Are sun Dried Sausages.

 Rice and bread form the bulk of Egyptian main course.  Meat was a luxury for most Egyptians, often cooked with vegetables and served in small quantities.  Torly, a mixed vegetable stew, is usually cooked with lamb, or occasionally with beef, onions, potatoes, beans, and peas.  Egyptian-style kebabs, are basically seasoned chunks of lamb in onions, marjoram, and lemon juice and then roast them over a spit oven or open fire.

 Kofta is ground lamb flavored with spices and onions which rolled into long narrow “Meatballs” and roasted like Kebab.  Pork is considered unclean by Muslims, but is readily available, as is Beef.

 Ruzz(Rice) is often served in various styles such as with nuts vegetables, or small amounts of meat.

 Balaatis(Potatoes) are usually fried but can also be boiled or stuffed.

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The native cheese of Egypt comes in two forms : Gibna Beida Gibna rumy Gibna Beida is similar to the Greek Feta Gibna Rumy, is a sharp, hard pale, yellow cheese.

Mish is a spiced, dry cheese made into paste and served as an appetizer.

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Other important Egyptian cheese’s are : Sardo Egyptian : Is a hard cheese, long lasting cheese made from sheep’s milk, often used for grating. Testauri : Is an orange shaped cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk and is eaten fresh and is lightly salted. Gebnah Areesh : It’s a white cheese, home made by farmers. Mesh : It’s made from aging Gebnah-Areesh, with chilli peppers.

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• Egyptian herbs were widely respected as medicine throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. • Cloves of Garlic have been found in the Egyptian burials, including the tomb of tutukhamun and in the sacred temple of the bulls. • Fresh Garlic cloves can be peeled and mashed and macerate with olive oil, can be taken internally for bronchial and lung complaints. • It has many more uses when applied externally or internally to relieve pains, promote healing, stimulate sexual libido and to eliminate and prevent parasites.

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Other herbs used by Egyptians are : Coriander : Was commonly used by the ancient and the modern Egyptians. Considered as a cooling, stimulant, carminative, and digestive properties. Were Often taken as Tea stomach and all kinds of urinary complaints. They were used by Egyptian kings as an offering to the temple. Cyperus : This plant belongs to a family that has many species growing through a widely diverse areas of the world, the most famous being Egyptian Papyrus, which was commonly used as a pulp for paper manufacture.

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 Egyptian desserts of pastry or pudding are usually drenched in Honey syrup.  Fatir are pancakes stuffed with almost everything from Eggs to Apricots.  Basbousa is quite sweet, is made of semolina pastry soaked in honey syrup and topped with Hazelnut.  Kanafa are batter fried strings on a hot grill and stuffed with nuts, meats, or sweets.  Egyptian rice pudding is called “Mahallabiyya” and is served topped with Pistachios.

 Egyptians adopted the formal afternoon Tea sessions from the Arabs.  Egyptian tea is often served with Milk, Lemon, and Sugar.  The domestic or Bedouin version of Shay(Tea) is boiled rather than steeped and is often saturated with sugar.  The after dinner tea is “Shay Bil Na’na” or mint tea, dried mint is mixed with tea leaves and the mixture is brewed like regular tea.

 Ahwa(Coffee) is the national tradition in the Middle East.  Tawla(Backgammon), “Oriental” Egyptian music, and the “shisha” are the best accompaniments to coffee in the Middle East.  Thick, strong, tasty brew are still served in offices, homes and bazaars.

By Maharanasaheb.com

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