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Authentic Egyptian Street Food Recipes

Egyptian street food is a delicious and enticing way to explore the rich culinary history and culture of the region. Bursting with vibrant flavors and delectable aromas, these dishes offer a window into the daily lives and traditions of the Egyptian people. Whether you are a seasoned home chef or simply looking to expand your cooking repertoire, delving into Egyptian street food recipes and techniques is an exciting and memorable journey. This essay will provide valuable insights into traditional ingredients, popular street food dishes, cooking techniques, and serving and presentation styles that will help you expertly recreate these mouthwatering delights in your own kitchen.

Traditional Ingredients

Traditional Ingredients

Egyptian cuisine is heavily dependent on the use of fresh, local ingredients. Some of the most common Egyptian street food recipes utilize an abundance of spices, legumes, and vegetables. In this guide, we will explore these key flavors and ingredients used in Egyptian cooking.


Egyptian cuisine is characterized by its aromatic spices, which are used to add flavor and depth to various dishes. Some of the most common spices used in Egyptian cooking include:

  • Cumin: This warm, earthy spice is often used to season legumes, grains, and meats. It is especially popular in dishes like ful medames and koshari.
  • Coriander: This spice has a slightly citrusy flavor and is often used in spice blends like dukkah or to season meats and vegetables.
  • Cardamom: This fragrant spice is used in both sweet and savory dishes. In Egyptian cuisine, it is often used in rice dishes, stews, and desserts.
  • Cinnamon: This sweet, warming spice is popular in Egyptian desserts like baklava and rice pudding.
  • Nutmeg: This aromatic spice is used in small amounts to add a unique flavor to savory dishes and desserts.
  • Allspice: This spice, which has a flavor reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, is often used in spice blends and seasoning mixes.

Legumes, mainly beans and lentils, play a vital role in Egyptian street food recipes and form the basis of many popular dishes. They are a great source of protein and very affordable.

  • Fava beans: This large, creamy bean is the star ingredient in the popular Egyptian street food dish called ful medames (fava bean stew).
  • Chickpeas: These versatile legumes are used in various dishes, like the popular Middle Eastern dip, hummus, or added to salads and stews.
  • Lentils: Lentils are commonly used in soups and stews, as well as in the well-known Egyptian dish koshari (a mix of rice, pasta, lentils, and tomato sauce).

Egyptians rely heavily on seasonal vegetables for their daily meals. Common vegetables used in Egyptian cooking include:

  • Tomatoes: Fresh and canned tomatoes are used to make sauces, salads, and dishes like shakshuka (a tomato and egg dish).
  • Eggplant: This versatile vegetable is often grilled, fried, or used in dips and stews.
  • Onions: Onions are a staple ingredient in Egyptian cooking and are often caramelized to add flavor to dishes like koshari and moussaka.
  • Garlic: This pungent ingredient is commonly used in marinades, sauces, and stews.
  • Bell peppers: These colorful vegetables are often stuffed with rice and meat or used in dips and salads.
  • Okra: This popular vegetable is often cooked in a tomato-based sauce and is frequently featured in stews and soups.
Sample Egyptian Street Food Recipe: Ful Medames

Now that you’re more familiar with traditional ingredients used in Egyptian cuisine, you can try your hand at making some delicious Egyptian street food at home. Here’s a simple recipe for ful medames, a fava bean stew often eaten for breakfast or lunch:

  • 2 cups dried fava beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a large pot, combine the soaked fava beans with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Once the beans are cooked, add the onion and spice mixture to the pot. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, dill, and lemon juice. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the flavors have melded together.
  5. Serve the ful medames warm or at room temperature with a side of pita bread, sliced tomatoes, and cucumbers for a truly authentic Egyptian street food experience.
A plate of Egyptian food consisting of ful medames, fried eggplant, and salad
Egyptian Street Food

Egyptian street food is known for being flavorful, hearty, and satisfying. Some of the most popular Egyptian street foods include koshari, ful medames, and ta’ameya. These dishes often incorporate a combination of grains, legumes, and vegetables, making them not only delicious but also nutritious. In this guide, we will explore how to prepare these lip-smacking street food dishes in the comfort of your own home.


Koshari is a flavorful and filling dish that combines rice, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas, topped with a tomato sauce and crispy fried onions. This delicious concoction is considered to be the national dish of Egypt.

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups small pasta (like macaroni, ditalini, or broken vermicelli)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the tomato sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions in salted water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Rinse the lentils and place them in a pot with enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Fry the sliced onions in batches until they are golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Season with salt and set aside.
  5. In a separate saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
  6. Add the tomato sauce, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to the saucepan. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. In a large serving dish, combine the rice, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas. Top with the tomato sauce and garnish with the crispy fried onions. Serve immediately.
Ful Medames

Ful medames is a hearty fava bean stew often eaten for breakfast in Egypt. It is seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs and typically served with bread, vegetables, and sometimes boiled eggs.

  • 2 cups dried fava beans, soaked overnight (or two 15 oz cans of cooked fava beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. If using dried beans, drain and rinse the soaked fava beans. Place them in a large pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fava beans with the garlic, parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  3. Serve the ful medames with warm pita bread, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles, or any of your favorite fresh vegetables.

Ta’ameya is the Egyptian version of falafel, made with fava beans instead of chickpeas. These golden, crispy patties are best enjoyed with tahini sauce or stuffed into pita bread with salads and pickles.

  • 2 cups dried split fava beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Drain and rinse the soaked fava beans. Place them in a food processor, along with the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, baking soda, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Process until a smooth, paste-like texture is achieved. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  2. In a deep skillet or pot, add at least 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 375°F.
  3. Form the fava bean mixture into small patties or balls, using wet hands or a small scoop to prevent sticking.
  4. Carefully drop the patties into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
  5. Serve the ta’ameya with tahini sauce, pita bread, salads, and pickles, or enjoy them on their own.

Now that you’ve learned how to make these popular Egyptian street food dishes, you can enjoy a taste of Egypt from the comfort of your own home!

A plate of Koshari, Ful Medames, and Ta'ameya, which are popular street food dishes in Egypt.

Cooking Techniques


Egyptian street food is popular for its mouthwatering flavors, unique ingredients, and affordability. It’s an integral part of Egyptian culture and can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. If you’re an enthusiast or hobbyist looking to master Egyptian street food recipes, then this guide will help you learn various cooking techniques, including frying, baking, and simmering.

Frying Techniques

Frying is a common cooking method used in Egyptian street food. This technique involves cooking food in oil or fat over high heat. Some popular Egyptian fried dishes are Ta’meya (falafel), Batata (fried potatoes), and even some variations of making shawarma.

  • Choose the right oil: Make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point, such as corn, peanut, or sunflower oil.
  • Preheat the oil: Before adding in your ingredients, preheat the oil in a deep pan to about 350°F to 375°F.
  • Prepare and dry the ingredients: Remove excess liquid from your ingredients to avoid splattering. Coat them with a light batter or flour, if necessary.
  • Fry in batches: Do not overcrowd your pan when frying, as this may lower the oil temperature and result in unevenly cooked food. Cook your ingredients in batches, turning them occasionally to ensure even browning.
  • Drain excess oil: Remove cooked food from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately for the best taste and texture.
Baking Techniques

Baking is another essential cooking technique in Egyptian street food. Egyptian bread like Baladi, Flat Bread, and Feteer Meshaltet are staples in both street food and traditional Egyptian cuisine.

  • Preheat your oven: Ensure your oven is hot and at the desired temperature before placing your dough or mixture inside.
  • Prepare your baking tray or pan: Grease the baking tray or pan with butter or oil to prevent sticking. You may also use parchment paper for easier cleanup.
  • Divide and shape the dough: If the recipe calls for individual portions or particular shapes, divide the dough accordingly and form it using your hands. Be mindful of the thickness as it can affect the cooking time.
  • Monitor the baking time: Baking can be a delicate process. Check on the readiness of the bread or dish periodically to prevent overcooking or burning.
  • Allow to cool slightly: Remove the baked dish from the oven, and let it cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.
Simmering Techniques

Simmering is a slow cooking technique that’s ideal for soups, stews, and legume dishes commonly found in Egyptian street food. Koshari, a famous Egyptian dish, is typically cooked by simmering lentils and rice.

  • Choose the right pot: Use a heavy-bottomed pot for even heat distribution and to prevent the ingredients from burning.
  • Control the heat: Maintain a gentle simmer (with small bubbles just breaking the surface) by adjusting the heat level. A full boil may cause the ingredients to break down too quickly.
  • Stir occasionally: Stir the dish now and then to prevent ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot and to promote even cooking.
  • Add seasoning and taste test: As the dish simmers, add seasonings and spices according to the recipe. Taste the dish periodically and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Cook until ingredients are tender: Simmer the dish until the ingredients are cooked well and reach the desired tenderness.

With practice and patience, you’ll become a master of these Egyptian street food cooking techniques. Just remember to follow recipes closely, and don’t be afraid to experiment to create your unique Egyptian street food dishes. Happy cooking!

Serving and Presentation


Egyptian street food is known for its rich flavors, delightful aromas, and unique culinary traditions. Bringing these dishes into your own kitchen is a fantastic way to enjoy this cuisine and share it with your friends and family. This guide will teach you how to serve and present your Egyptian street food recipes in a traditional and visually appealing way.

Ingredients and Cookware

Before you start preparing your dishes, it is essential that you gather all the necessary ingredients and cookware. Traditional Egyptian street food is mainly served on plates or in small bowls, so make sure you have these available. Wooden skewers and serving platters are also handy for certain dishes. Additionally, prepare traditional Egyptian bread, such as “baladi” or pita bread, to serve alongside your dishes.

Serving Egyptian Street Food Dishes

Falafel, also known as ta’ameya, is a well-known Egyptian street food made from fava beans or chickpeas. To serve this dish traditionally:

  • Place five to six falafel balls on a plate.
  • Serve with a side of tahini sauce, a mildly spicy tomato sauce, and pickles.
  • Add a piece of baladi or pita bread on the side for dipping and wrapping.
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or coriander leaves.

Koshary is a popular Egyptian dish consisting of rice, pasta, lentils, and tomato sauce, topped with fried onions. For a visually appealing presentation:

  • Use a large serving bowl and layer the ingredients in the following order: rice, pasta, and lentils.
  • Pour a generous amount of tomato sauce over the layered ingredients.
  • Sprinkle a layer of crispy fried onion on top, and garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Serve with a lemon wedge on the side for optional additional flavor.

Shawarma is a delicious Egyptian sandwich made with marinated meat, vegetables, and sauces. To serve:

  • Choose a soft, large rectangular bread, such as a shawarma bread, Arabic bread, or pita.
  • Spread a thin layer of garlic or tahini sauce on the bread.
  • Add sliced, marinated meat (chicken, beef or lamb) to the middle of the bread.
  • Top with sliced onion, tomato, cucumber, and pickles.
  • Drizzle with more sauce, and fold the bread to form a sandwich or wrap.
  • Cut diagonally in half and serve on a plate, or wrap in foil for a portable meal.
Foul Mudammas

Foul Mudammas is a popular Egyptian breakfast dish made of fava beans cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices. For a traditional serving:

  • Use a small, deep bowl and fill it with the cooked beans.
  • Drizzle some olive oil on top, and sprinkle with cumin and red pepper flakes or paprika.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro or parsley, and a lemon wedge.
  • Serve warm with baladi bread or pita for dipping.
Presentation Tips

Here are some additional tips to make your Egyptian street food dishes even more visually appealing:

  • Use colorful ingredients such as fresh herbs, tomatoes, and lemon wedges for garnishing.
  • Serve dishes with a variety of textures, like crispy fried onions on top of koshary or crunchy pickles beside falafel.
  • Use a mix of small and large serving platters and bowls to create a visually interesting arrangement.

Now that you know how to serve and present your Egyptian street food dishes, you can impress your friends and family with a delightful taste of Egypt! Enjoy!

a picture of an Egyptian street food platter with falafel, koshary, shawarma, and foul mudammas

Mastering the art of Egyptian street food is a rewarding experience that not only enriches your culinary skills but also deepens your understanding and appreciation of this fascinating cuisine. As you incorporate the knowledge of traditional ingredients, favorite dishes, cooking techniques, and presentation styles into your cooking methods, you will be well equipped to impress friends and family with your authentic and delectable Egyptian street food creations. So let the exotic flavors and tantalizing aromas of Egyptian street food sweep you away on a culinary adventure, and enjoy sharing these rich cultural dishes with those around you.

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