Dine like an Egyptian

Egyptian food is a melange of spices, textures and different cooking techniques

Quatayef

Egyptian Mahshi

Ingredients: A cup of rice; 1 large onion, chopped; 1 large onion sliced in thick slices; ½ cup tomato sauce; Half a bunch of parsley, coriander and dill; ½ tsp of cinnamon; ¼ tsp of allspice; 1½ tbsps of sunflower oil; Salt and pepper to taste. A serving of zucchini, eggplant or cabbage leaves.

Method: Sauté onions in a tbsp of oil. Add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper and spices. Simmer for 3 minutes. Rinse the rice thoroughly. Finely chop the herbs. Add the prepared tomato sauce and herbs to the rice and mix well. Core the vegetables, without breaking them. If you are using leafy vegetables, blanch and cool the leaves. Stuff each vegetable with the rice mixture. Leave ½ inch unstuffed to allow the rice to expand when cooked. Add ½ tbsp of oil to the bottom of a non-stick pot. Arrange the onion slices to cover the bottom to prevent charring. Place the stuffed vegetables on top of the onions in a slightly standing position to avoid the rice spilling out. Once cooked, serve hot.

Hawawshi

Ingredients: A pound of minced meat; 4 pita breads; 1 chopped onion; 1 bell pepper chopped; 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper; 1 chopped tomato; oil and a tsp crushed red pepper.

Method: Preheat the oven to 400°F, mix all the ingredients together except the pitas. Open the pita pockets, you can cut it in half and stuff each half. Brush the bread with oil and stuff it with the meat mixture. Wrap the pita in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or place them directly on the oven rack until they are golden and crispy.

Qatayef

Ingredients: Around 250 gm of flour; 250 gm of semolina; 20 gm of granulated sugar; 10 gm of baking powder; 5 gm of instant yeast; 4 gm of salt; 750 ml of warm water; 500 ml of oil for frying and 150 gm of ground pistachios for the filling.

Method: In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add water and mix until everything is well incorporated, cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. In a skillet set over medium heat, pour 2 tbsps of the batter. Cook until the batter has no visible wet spots and you will notice bubbles forming on the surface. Do not flip. Complete the batter and cover the cooked qatayef so it doesn’t dry out. Add the filling in the middle of the qatayef. Pinch the edges together sealing them two-thirds of the way. Dip the open side into ground pistachios. Arrange this nicely in a serving dish and cover until time to serve. You can also drizzle some thick simple syrup or honey on top.

(The author is executive chef at Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park)

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Dine like an Egyptian

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