Most Egyptians don’t know what vegan means…
they may not realise it but Egypt is vegan heaven. Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians left evidence of their love for food. Well-preserved wall paintings and carvings have been discovered on tombs and temples, depicting large feasts and a variety of foods. Many of these ancient foods are still eaten in Egyptian households today. Peas, beans, cucumbers, dates, figs, and grapes were popular fruits and vegetables in ancient times. Wheat and barley, ancient staple crops, were used to make bread and beer.
Eating in Egypt has been a joy and a delight. Unlike in Europe where vegan is a trend, it is a part of their daily cuisine. Here is my list of my top vegan Egyptian Food.
They say that rich people eat it for breakfast, normal people eat it at lunch, poor people eat it in the evenings and donkeys eat it at night. Ful medames or simply fūl, is a dish of cooked fava beans served with vegetable oil, cumin, and optionally with chopped parsley, garlic, onion, lemon juice, chili pepper and other vegetable, herb and spice ingredients.
Tabouleh is a is healthy, quick to prepare salad comprising largely of parsley and bulgur wheat, and is ubiquitous across the Middle East. It is typically served as one of a number of tapas-style hot and cold starters known as mezzes.
If you’re in Egypt and you ask for falafel, more than likely what you will actually received are Tamiya, the superior Egyptian version of the classic Middle Eastern dish. The recipe for Tamiya – or the Egyptian falafel – is similar to that of traditional falafel, however instead of using chickpeas, Egyptian falafel recipe uses mashed white broad beans instead.
If you’re travelling in Egypt, you will more than likely experience baba ganoush as one of a number of starters. It is a blended, smoky paste of aubergine (that’s Eggplant if you’re reading this in North America), tahini, garlic, lemon and herbs
A staple of the everyday Egyptian diet, Kosheri is a blend of macaroni, rice and lentils topped with fried onions, lemon juice and spicy tomato sauce. Kosheri is cheap, simple and fast.
Baba Ganouche aka Baba
Baba ganoush is a delicious, healthy vegetarian dish eaten commonly across Egypt and elsewhere. A blended, smoky paste of aubergine (that’s Eggplant if you’re reading this in North America), tahini, garlic, lemon and herbs.
It is loved by almost everybody. It is easy and tasteful. It is.. Mesaka‘a. It is made out of fried eggplant which is dried before adding the seasoning. It’s a delicious, low-calorie food for the health-conscious.
Stuffed zucchini with rice, lemon, onion, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, cinnamon, mint, cumin, ground spice, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and cloves
Hummus is a thick, filling dip made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, and olive oil. In Egypt a bowl of hummus and pita bread is a meal in itself. Available from almost anywhere that sells food, sells hummus. It’s healthy, simple to prepare and cheap.
Molokhia is a green leaf vegetable also known as ‘Jew’s Mallow’ and is not dissimilar to spinach. It’s used in a variety of Egyptian dishes and is instantly recognisable by its viscous, slimy quality. Although typically served like a soup, it’s customary to eat with rice onto which the molokhia is spooned like a sauce. It was a bit weird at first but I got use to the slimy texture and enjoyed it.
Considered a Nubian dish, fatta is usually prepared for festivities such as a woman’s first birth, and both Christian and Muslim holiday celebrations. It consists of layers of rice and fried bread, covered in a garlic.
Egyptian Fruit you can find on street for sale by street vendors.
Ghazal Al Banat
Before cotton candy existed, there was spun sugar, but before people could “spin” sugar, they had to caramelize it. Meet Ghazal Al Banat, the Egyptian sweet sweet ‘cotton candy’. This video from NoGarlicNoOnions shows how it is made.
This Egyptian salad makes the most of fresh seasonal vegetables and left over pita bread. The dressing is a zesty mix of lemon and sumac, a Middle Eastern spice with a tart citrus flavour.