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Ancient Egyptian Dinner Recipes: A Tasty Time Travel

The ancient Egyptian civilization was known for its innovation and creativity, which can be seen in many aspects of their society, including their culinary practices. Being enthusiasts or hobbyists in ancient Egyptian dinner recipes, we embark on a journey to uncover the rich flavors, ingredients, and techniques that made this historic cuisine so unique and captivating. In this exploration, we delve into the common ingredients, traditional cooking methods, staple dishes, adaptability in modern kitchens, and the rediscovery of Egyptian flavors that have stood the test of time.

Ancient Egyptian Ingredients

Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Cuisine

Ancient Egyptian cuisine is rich in flavors and ingredients, heavily influenced by the fertile lands around the Nile River. While many of the specific recipes from ancient Egypt have been lost over time, historians and archaeologists have been able to piece together information on what ingredients were commonly used and how they were prepared. So, if you’re an enthusiast or hobbyist wanting to recreate ancient Egyptian dinners, start by learning about the common ingredients and then experiment with combining them in ways that capture the essence of ancient Egyptian flavors.


Grains were a staple in ancient Egyptian cuisine, as they were a reliable source of energy and nutrients. Some common grains used include:

  1. Emmer wheat: This was the primary grain used for making bread in ancient Egypt. If you can’t find emmer wheat, you can substitute with modern whole wheat or spelt flour.
  2. Barley: Barley was another common grain, often used in making bread and beer. You can find barley flour or pearl barley in most supermarkets and health food stores.

Ancient Egyptians consumed lots of different vegetables, many of which are still commonly used today. Some examples include:

  • Onions and garlic: These were important for flavoring dishes and can be easily incorporated into modern recipes.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas were popular sources of protein.
  • Leafy greens: Kale, lettuce, and various herbs were commonly used in salads and as side dishes.
  • Cucumbers and melons: These fruits were often eaten as dessert or to cool off after a spicy meal.

Fruits were a significant part of the ancient Egyptian diet, whether fresh, dried, or made into preserves. Some examples include:

  1. Figs: Figs were commonly eaten fresh or dried and could be used in various dishes as a sweetener.
  2. Dates: Dates are still very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine and can be used in a variety of dishes and desserts.
  3. Grapes: Grapes were used for making wine, raisins, and syrup, which could be drizzled over bread or used as a sweetener in other recipes.

Spices were an integral component of ancient Egyptian cooking and were used to enhance the flavors and aromas of dishes. Some commonly used spices include:

  1. Cumin: This spice was popular for its bold, earthy flavor and can be used in a variety of vegetable and grain dishes.
  2. Coriander: Coriander was often used alongside cumin to provide a balanced spice profile.
  3. Black pepper: Black pepper would have been a luxury item in ancient Egypt, but it was used to add heat and depth to dishes.
Putting It All Together: Ancient Egyptian Dinner Recipe Ideas

Now that you have a basis in ancient Egyptian ingredients, you can start experimenting with different dishes and combinations. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started:

  1. Ancient Egyptian Bread: Combine emmer or barley flour with water, yeast, and a touch of salt to create a simple flatbread. Cook on a hot griddle or bake in the oven until golden brown.
  2. Lentil Stew: Cook lentils with onions, garlic, and a blend of cumin and coriander for a hearty stew.
  3. Stuffed Dates: Remove the pits from fresh dates and stuff them with a mixture of chopped nuts and honey. This makes a delicious and easy dessert.
  4. Fig and Onion Salad: Slice fresh figs and onions and combine them with torn kale or lettuce leaves. Drizzle with a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil, vinegar, and a touch of honey.

Remember, these are just starting points for your ancient Egyptian culinary adventure. Have fun experimenting with different ingredients and finding your own favorite dishes!

An image of various ancient Egyptian foods on plates, including bread, grapes, wine, and figs.

Traditional Cooking Methods


Ancient Egyptian cuisine was diverse and flavorful, drawing upon the abundant resources of the Nile Valley. While many cooking techniques and ingredients remain a mystery, archaeologists and researchers have pieced together a fascinating picture of how Egyptians prepared their meals over 4,000 years ago. As an enthusiast or hobbyist, learning these traditional cooking methods can help you connect with the past and try your hand at making authentic ancient Egyptian dinner recipes.


Baking was a central part of ancient Egyptian cooking, and ovens were constructed in many homes. Flatbreads were a staple food, made from grains like barley, emmer, and later on, wheat. The process involved several steps:

  1. Begin by grinding your selected grain—barley, emmer, or wheat—on a flat stone, or use a modern equivalent like a food processor.
  2. Slowly add water to the ground grain and mix with your hands to form a dough.
  3. Allow the dough to rise slightly, and then shape it into flat, round pieces.
  4. Place the flatbreads on a hot baking stone or clay mold in the oven.
  5. Bake for a few minutes until the bread is cooked through and has a slight char on the surface.

Baking also included sweet treats, like date and fig pastries. You can make a simple ancient Egyptian-style dessert following these steps:

  1. Chop fresh dates and figs and remove any seeds.
  2. Mix the chopped fruits with a small amount of honey and ground nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) to create a sweet filling.
  3. Encase the filling in pastry dough and mold into small squares or triangles.
  4. Bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy.

Similar to baking, boiling was another common cooking technique used in ancient Egypt. Stews and soups made from vegetables, legumes, and sometimes fish or meat were common. Follow these steps to create a flavorful ancient Egyptian-style stew:

  1. Choose your base ingredients, such as onions, garlic, lentils, and vegetables like leeks, cabbage, or squash.
  2. Cut the ingredients into small pieces and prepare any necessary seasonings, like cumin, coriander, or salt.
  3. In a large pot, heat a small amount of oil (such as olive or sesame oil) and cook the onions and garlic until they become soft and fragrant.
  4. Add in your selected vegetables and seasonings, then pour in enough water to cover the ingredients.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer.
  6. Cook until the vegetables are tender and flavors meld together into a rich, flavorful broth.

Roasting and grilling meats on an open fire or grill were popular in ancient Egyptian cuisine, particularly for special occasions. To try this technique, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a meat, such as chicken, duck, or fish, and season it with ingredients like salt, cumin, and garlic.
  2. Skewer the pieces of meat and use a traditional open fire, grill, or modern oven to roast or grill the meat.
  3. Roast until the meat is cooked through, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  4. Serve with warm flatbread and a side of vegetables or stew to create a complete ancient Egyptian-style meal.
Preserving Foods

Ancient Egyptians used various methods to preserve food. Some favorites included:

  1. Drying: Grains, legumes, herbs, and fruits were dried in the sun or oven to be stored for later use.
  2. Salt-curing: Fish and some meats were cured in salt to extend their shelf life.
  3. Fermentation: Grains, fruits, and honey were fermented into beverages, such as beer and wine.

By exploring these traditional cooking methods and techniques, you can create your own ancient Egyptian-inspired dinner recipes and experience a taste of history.

Cooked food in clay containers with flames in the background, representing ancient Egyptian cuisine

Egyptian Staple Dishes

Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Dinner Recipes

Ancient Egyptian cuisine was simple but also diverse in flavors, using a variety of grains, vegetables, and fruits. Many of the dishes were plant-based, as Egyptians believed in living a healthy lifestyle. Here are some popular ancient Egyptian dinner recipes that you can learn and enjoy making at home.

Recipe 1: Ta’amiya (Falafel)

Ta’amiya, also known as Falafel, is a classic Egyptian dish that has been enjoyed since ancient times. It is made from fava beans, herbs, and spices, then deep-fried and served with pita bread, salad, and Tahini sauce.

  • 2 cups dried fava beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • Oil for frying
  1. Soak fava beans in water overnight in the refrigerator. Drain well.
  2. In a food processor, combine soaked fava beans, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Process until a coarse paste is formed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.
  4. Stir in baking soda (optional). Allow the mixture to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Shape the Ta’amiya mixture into small balls or patties and carefully drop them into the hot oil.
  6. Fry until golden brown, turning them once during cooking, about 2-3 minutes per side. After frying, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve hot accompanied by pita bread, salad, and Tahini sauce.

Recipe 2: Lentil Soup

This wholesome and healthy ancient Egyptian lentil soup recipe is a comforting dish made from red lentils, onions, tomatoes, and spices.

  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, washed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a large pot, add lentils and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils are soft.
  2. In a separate frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent, then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the onion and garlic mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened.
  4. Stir in ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, black pepper, and paprika, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato-onion-spice mixture to the lentils in the pot. Bring to a simmer and allow the flavors to blend for about 15 minutes.
  6. If desired, blend the soup with an immersion blender or regular blender to create a smooth consistency.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot, garnishing with fresh cilantro or parsley if desired.

Recipe 3: Ancient Egyptian Salad

This refreshing ancient Egyptian salad is full of healthy vegetables, and the dressing combines flavors like garlic and lemon.

  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine chopped cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, and mint (if using).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine evenly.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours for flavors to blend.

Enjoy these ancient Egyptian dinner recipes that are not only delicious but also packed with nutritious ingredients. Have fun exploring the rich culinary history of Egypt!

Adapting Recipes for Modern Kitchens


Ancient Egyptian cuisine is fascinating and offers a unique insight into the ingredients and techniques used thousands of years ago. While the methods used to prepare and cook food have evolved through time, we can still adapt ancient Egyptian recipes for modern kitchens. Here are some instructions on how to do just that.

Research Ancient Egyptian Ingredients

First, research the key ingredients used in ancient Egyptian recipes. Some common ingredients include:

  • Grains: Wheat and barley were staple foods for ancient Egyptians. Consider using farro or bulgur as a substitute for ancient grains.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Onions, garlic, leeks, lettuce, cucumbers, grapes, dates, and figs were widely used in ancient Egyptian cooking. You can find these ingredients easily in modern supermarkets.
  • Proteins: Fish, poultry, and red meat (such as beef, goat, and lamb) were commonly consumed. You can choose your favorite protein as a modern-day substitute.
  • Spices and Herbs: Use spices like cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, and herbs like parsley, dill, and mint as flavorings for your dishes.
Substitute Ingredients When Necessary

In some instances, ingredients used in ancient Egyptian cooking might not be available in your local supermarket. For example, today we don’t typically consume the Nile perch, a fish prevalent in ancient Egyptian cuisine. Feel free to replace this with another white fish that’s easily accessible, such as tilapia or cod.

Use Modern Kitchen Appliances and Techniques

Ancient Egyptian cooking techniques generally revolved around basic equipment like pots, pans, and open fires. We can easily adapt these methods for modern kitchens by using our stovetops, ovens, and various kitchen appliances.

For instance, you can bake bread using a modern oven instead of an open fire. When cooking a fish recipe that is traditionally cooked on an open flame, use your stovetop or oven instead.

Scale Recipes to Your Needs

Ancient Egyptian recipes often don’t list exact measurements or serving sizes. Feel free to adjust quantities and portions to suit your needs and preferences in modern kitchens.

Examples of Modified Ancient Egyptian Recipes
Tahini Salad (Appetizer)


  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine cucumber and cherry tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour tahini dressing over cucumber and tomatoes, tossing to coat evenly. Serve chilled.
Ancient Egyptian-Inspired Chicken (Main Course)


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, and cinnamon.
  3. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, then season them with the spice mixture, salt, and pepper. Make sure each piece is evenly coated.
  4. Place the chicken breasts onto a baking sheet or dish, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  5. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Honey Date Nut Cake (Dessert)


  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line an 8-inch (20cm) square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dates, boiling water, and baking soda. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add honey, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract to the date mixture, stirring until well combined.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting into squares.

By following these guidelines, it’s possible to bring the flavors of ancient Egypt to your modern kitchen, creating an immersive and delicious dining experience. Enjoy!

A woman preparing food in a kitchen with ancient Egyptian decor and ingredients, showcasing the connection between ancient and modern Egyptian cuisine.

Photo by onevibe on Unsplash

Rediscovering Egyptian Flavors


Ancient Egyptian cuisine is a treasure trove of unique flavors and textures that were enjoyed by the inhabitants of this great civilization thousands of years ago. As a food enthusiast, creating an authentic ancient Egyptian dinner requires rediscovering these flavors and understanding the ingredients and cooking methods that were available during this time. By doing so, you will be able to appreciate the culinary prowess of this ancient civilization and immerse yourself in their culinary culture. So, let’s explore some delicious recipes and bring the taste of ancient Egypt to your dinner table.

Ingredients and Flavor Profiles

Before diving into the recipes, it is important to understand the ingredients that were available in ancient Egypt. Some common ingredients used in their cuisine include:

  • Wheat and barley for making bread and beer
  • Grains and legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans
  • Vegetables like leeks, onions, garlic, lettuce, cucumbers, and radishes
  • Fruits such as dates, figs, and grapes
  • Dairy products, especially cheese
  • Meats, mainly fish, duck, and other wild birds
  • Honey, the primary sweetener in ancient Egypt
  • Herbs and spices, including cumin, coriander, and cinnamon

With these ingredients in mind, let’s jump into some delicious ancient Egyptian dinner recipes you can try.

Ta’amia (Egyptian Falafel)


  • 2 cups dried fava beans, soaked overnight in water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Drain the soaked fava beans and place them in a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, baking soda, salt, and pepper.
  2. Process the mixture until it forms a smooth paste. If needed, add a little water to help the mixture come together.
  3. Shape the mixture into small, flat discs about the size of a golf ball and set aside on a plate.
  4. In a deep pan, heat enough vegetable oil for frying. Once the oil is hot, carefully add several falafel discs to the pan.
  5. Fry the falafel, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside. Remove the falafel from the oil and set them on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  6. Serve the falafel with tahini sauce, fresh vegetables, or bread.
Ancient Egyptian Bread (Aish Shamsi)


  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for brushing


  1. Prepare a clean surface for kneading the dough. Place the whole wheat flour in a mound and create a well in the center.
  2. Slowly pour the water into the well while mixing it with the flour. Incorporate the water until a soft but not sticky dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and shape each portion into a flat, round disc.
  6. Place the discs on the prepared baking sheet and lightly brush the tops with olive oil.
  7. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden and the center is cooked through.
  8. Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving.
Honey-Glazed Duck with Figs and Grapes


  • 1 whole duck, cleaned and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh figs, halved
  • 2 cups red grapes


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Season the duck inside and out with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for approximately 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the honey and red wine vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly and becomes syrupy.
  4. Remove the duck from the oven and carefully pour the honey mixture over it, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  5. Return the duck to the oven and continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes, basting occasionally with the honey mixture until it is well glazed and golden brown.
  6. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the figs and grapes to the roasting pan to caramelize them in the duck juices and honey glaze.
  7. Remove the duck from the oven, allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve the duck with the caramelized figs and grapes.
Date and Honey Dessert


  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. In a food processor, combine the dates, walnuts, and cinnamon. Process the mixture until it forms a sticky paste.
  2. Roll the mixture into small ball or log shapes and place them on a plate or tray.
  3. Drizzle the honey over the top of the date balls, allowing it to coat them thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate the dessert until chilled and firm. Serve cold as a delicious, sweet treat.

By following these recipes, you will be able to enjoy a unique and authentic ancient Egyptian dinner experience. Bring together your friends and family to enjoy these delicious dishes while appreciating the culinary heritage of this fascinating civilization.

Throughout this fascinating journey into ancient Egyptian cuisine, we have learned more than just techniques and ingredients; we have connected with an essential part of human history and gained a deeper appreciation for the rich culinary heritage that has shaped our modern palates. By rediscovering and adapting these timeless recipes, we honor the legacy of one of the world’s oldest culinary cultures and contribute to the preservation and celebration of flavors that have captivated people across the ages. As we continue to learn and grow in our understanding of ancient Egyptian cuisine, we bring forth not only the flavors that enchanted the pharaohs but also the spirit of innovation and creativity that has defined this ancient civilization, keeping their culinary traditions alive and enticing in our modern world.

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