Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Essential Egyptian Breakfast

Our cleaning lady, Manal, comes once week to our flat. Alhamdulillah we found someone we can actually trust and clean well and is a decent person at the same time.  Two things living in Egypt we cannot go without:  fuul (fava beans) and tama3a (falafel).  It can also be the most monotonous food if one isn't creative.  The tama3a (falafel) is made of green vegetables and sometimes hummus (chick peas) fried in oil and served with ayesh baladi (pita bread) alongside salata (salad consisting of fresh khiar (cucumbers), tomatoes, onions, garlic and a vinegar based dressing with lemon juice.

It was Friday morning and Manal arrived on time at 10 a.m.   As she was cleaning the kitchen, Mira was still sleeping and Hassan and I were watching TV wondering how we were going to make our way to the kitchen to make some fuul (fava beans).  Not ten minutes later, Manal walked in with a tray of food, without us even asking her to make us anything.

It was such a pleasant surprise to see breakfast right before out eyes. And it was delicious too. Fuul is never made the same way twice.  Most of the time I just make it with EVOO and salt and pepper, however, Manal made it with tomato paste, onions, garlic and cumin. It was very Mexican-like and very satisfying. Manal even made bittengen mekhelen (pickled eggplant).  It was delicious.  Hassan and I couldn't get enough of the food and wished she had made more.

Just as we were finished I smelled something sweet coming from the kitchen.  Manal was baking sweet potatoes. But not just any sweet potatoes -- Egyptian sweet potatoes.  These sweet potatoes need absolutely nothing but time to let them cool off enough to eat.



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