The Most Famous Traditional Egyptian Breakfast--Foul and Falafel
By: Tasnim Elnasharty/ Arab America Contributing Writer
One of the benefits and pleasures of traveling is experiencing the food of the places that you visit. Often when you ask people about their holidays, they would pick some of the best things they saw; however, you are almost guaranteed they will always tell you about the food whether good or bad!
Egypt is one of those places where you can see and try food which much of it has been there since the Ancient Pharaoh times. We’ll start this journey with breakfast!
Starting with bread, it all began in ancient Egypt. It was made of a kind of ancient wheat called “Emmer”. Wheat had an important status in the Ancient Egyptian economy. It was not only used for bread making; it was also a form of payment. It’s important to add that the plant was sacred to ancient Egyptian Gods, particularly Osiris.
Since ancient times, Baladi bread has been consumed by both the rich and the poor.
This bread’s whole-grain flavor shines through. It is typically served warm from the oven after a brief rest and is used to sop up sauces and fill with whatever’s on the breakfast/dinner tables. This bread is round, 15-20 cm in diameter and 1-2 cm thick, and is backed with whole wheat. There are two types of ‘Eesh baladi’ – Egyptian Local Bread: machine-made and hand-made.
Hand-made bread is enriched with a thin layer of bran sprinkled on the lower layer.
1) 2 teaspoons dry yeast.
2) 1 cup of warm water.
3) 1 teaspoon salt.
4) 3 cups flour.
Foul, said as “fool” are fava beans mashed together with cumin, lemon, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Although the basic recipe is delicious, there are other interesting methods to spice up your foul such as tahini foul, or tomato foul.
Also, it is known as the most common traditional breakfast in Egypt. The soaked beans are cooked for hours over low heat in an “idra” in order to remove the beans casing. Traditionally this is how they are cooked and served by street carts in Cairo and around the country and served with traditional bread – It is believed that Foul was cooked all the way back in ancient Egypt.
Taameya/Falafel is another Egyptian breakfast favorite. Taameya/Falafel is made out of fava beans coriander. The crushed beans are then mixed with a fresh combination of chopped coriander, parsley, white onion, and garlic, giving its vibrant green color. Spices such as cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper are added along with chickpea flour. Taameya is the perfect combination of crunchy and soft! It’s best eaten in a loaf of traditional Egyptian bread known as “baladi” bread with a little drizzle of tahini.
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