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excerpts from The Anglo-Egyptian Cookery Book

1923: Thora Stowell

Thora Stowell's The Anglo-Egyptian Cookery Book (Alexandria, Cairo & London: Whitehead Morris Limited; 1923) is a very rare book. The obvious: Thora Stowell lived in Egypt and wrote this cookbook. Quite likely, this cookbook was written by the same Thora Stowell who was a popular poet and children's author of the 1920s and 1930s. She may have been the wife of a British military or government official who worked in Egypt. "Thora Stowell" appears to be a pseudonym.

Most of the recipes in The Anglo-Egyptian Cookery Book are for standard early 20th century European cuisine, somewhat adapted to "the Orient", and for local ingredients prepared "to suit European taste". Most of the more "Egyptian" recipes are gathered into a chapter of their own, and the same is done for Indian recipes. (This is a fine example of how the British empire popularized Indian cuisine.) The book also contains useful hints for the European managing a household in Egypt, and Arabic vocabulary. Arabic (and French) titles are given for most of the recipes; their accuracy is questionable.


The Anglo-Egyptian Cookery Book


Thora Stowell.

Whitehead Morris Limited
Alexandria, Cairo & London

Egyptian Recipes.

The recipes which follow are some of the commoner, dishes to be found on Egyptian tables, slightly modified here and there to suit European taste. Where garlic is disliked onion may be substituted, and butter used instead of the native " semn ," (but in the latter case the Oriental flavour of the dish is then lost). This is particularly the case in the native cakes, which should always be made with " semn " not butter. Of these almost the best is " Ghorayeba," a very delicious and melting form of shortbread ; and really well-made " Bakalowa ," though rich in the extreme is excellent. The sponge cake is light and distinguished by its crumb coating, and the "Cake of the Little Feast" made for the Bairam festival is dry but very good, so is the " Saddelhanak ," either alone or put into in the cake. The brown native bread either fresh or toasted is very good indeed, but it is easier to make if you have once seen a native woman do it. A particular turn of the wrist, and light touch is needed to get the cakes round and the Egyptian girls say "no-one should be married till they can make a round loaf."

Of the vegetables dishes, " Meloukhia " is perhaps the greatest favourite with Egyptians, though few Europeans really like it especially when highly seasoned with garlic as it should be. I give a few other specimen dishes, but there is a great sameness between them, and from these recipes, any other vegetable and meat dish may be prepared-Qulqass, cauliflower, fasolia, etc. all are done in much the same way as the " Bamia " recipe, and mutton is infinitely preferred to beef. The typical stew is rather watery, highly seasoned with garlic and spice, and richly dosed with tomato, and with plenty of " semn " floating on its surface. Into this the native bread is dipped. The poorer classes make the stew only two or three times a week, and re-heat for other meals.

" Ttamea " though usually vile if bought from the street-sellers, can be made a very palatable dish if well cooked preferably in butter or dripping according to ideas and the Meat " Kuftas " are familiar on most European tables already. The cucumber Salad is delicious with cold meat, the other Egyptian salads being much the same as European ones only very oily. " Balosa " is a very favourite pudding with Egyptians, though we do not care for it much, and the " Malban " is beloved of every Egyptian child. Of the native jams, " Roseleaf jam " and preserved " Nefash ," are the only ones here given, but the date jams, given in the jam section are both purely Egyptian in origin.

Among the vegetable recipes. under their own section those that are really Egyptian are Haricot a I'Egyptienne, stuffed Green peppers, Stuffed Vine leaves, and green Cucumber Pickle.


2 small or one large bedingan, 1/2 rottel meat, one or two onions or garlic, semn, dripping or butter, 1/2 rottel tomatoes.

Peel the bedingan and cut it into slices. Sprinkle well with salt, put into a bowl and put a plate on top with a heavy weight on it to extract the rather bitter juice, which is then thrown away. Fry the dried slices in semn, butter or dripping, or as is more correct in " surig " (oil of sesame). Remove them and fry the minced meat. Slice and fry the onion. Grease a saucepan well, put into it a layer of bedingan, cover this with the meat, onion or garlic, and then again with bedingan till all is used up. Boil and strain the tomatoes, and pour the strained pulp over the bedingan mixture, a little at a time, while cooking till all is quite tender and the juice absorbed. Turn the whole mixture out quickly into a hot dish, keeping the shape as well as possible, pour over it any tomato that is left and serve hot.


1 and 1/2 rottels meloukhia, 2 rottels mutton, garlic, 1/4 rottel semn, salt, pepper and spices.

Cut the meat in small pieces as for a stew. Put the semn and any meat fat on the fire, melt it, add the meat, and fry, then add water or stock to cover and let it cook till tender. Chop the meloukhia up, very finely as you would spinach (a special two-handled chopper is usually employed for the purpose). Peel the garlic and pound it up. Add the meloukhia to the soup and let it cook. Fry the garlic in a little semn and add it with seasoning. Let it all cook about half an hour, and serve hot.


(Ar. El bedingan Iswed bis sukr).

1/2 oke bedingan, 1/2 rottel semn, 2 rottels sugar, lemon, 1 glass water, 1/4 rottel nuts, 2 spoonfuls sultanas, 2 spoonfuls vinegar.

Peel the bedingan, sprinkle with salt, put in a bowl with a plate on top, weighted, to extract the bitter juice. Leave for a time, drain and dry it. Fry it in semn. Shell the nuts and clean the sultanas. Boil the sugar and water to a thick syrup. Put a layer of bedingan in a pan, then some nuts and sultanas, and so on till all are used up. Pour over it the syrup, and put on gentle heat for about 20 minutes. Take it off, add vinegar and lemon and serve.


1/2 oke bamia, one rottel meat, one rottel tomatoes, 2 onions, 1/4 rottel semn, salt, pepper, spices.

Wash and stalk the bamias, and slice them, fry in semn. Remove them, cut the meat in medium-sized pieces and fry this, with the sliced onions. Add the strained juice of the tomatoes, and cook till the meat is tender. Then add the bamia and let it cook gently another quarter of an hour before serving. Season well and serve hot.


(Ar. Besilia bel lakhm daany).

1/2 oke peas, one rottel mutton, 2 oz. semn, one rottel tomatoes, garlic, seasoning.

Shell the peas, cut up the meat in neat pieces, peel and pound the garlic. Melt the semn with any fat there is from the meat and fry meat and garlic well. Add the boiled, strained tomato, and the peas with more water if necessary, and let all cook gently, in a covered pan till quite tender.


1/2 rottel potatoes, 3 - 4 eggs, semn, seasoning.

Peel, wash and slice the potatoes, then cut each slice in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and leave half an hour. Wipe them dry and fry in plenty of semn till just browning. Beat the eggs, season well, pour in over potatoes, fry, keeping a good round shape, fold in half and serve on a hot dish.


(Ar. El lakhm daany bel Kharshoof).

1/2 oke kharhsoof, 1 rottel mutton, one rottel tomatoes, 2 onions, semn, seasoning.

Take off the outer leaves of the artichokes, cut off the tops, and cut the rest into pieces. Fry in semn, then remove. Fry the sliced onions and minced meat, season well. Grease a saucepan, put into it a layer of artichokes, then meat, the onion, and so on with artichokes on top. Add the strained tomato juice, and cook on a gentle fire till tender, about one and a half hours.


(Ar. Ttamea).

1/2 kilo soaked chopped beans (" fool nabet "), salt, parsley, garlic, oil.

The beans need soaking for a day or two till they sprout. Slip off the skins and chop them up finely. Pound them up with the garlic and seasoning and shape into small round cakes. Fry in oil, close together in a pan and when coloured turn them over. Serve cold, decorated with parsley.


1 kilo neck of mutton, 1 tablespoonful rice, 1 egg yolk, half a lemon, seasoning, one and a half litres water.

Wipe the meat cut in neat joints, and boil one hour in the water. Add the well washed rice, and when this is cooked, take it off the fire, mix the egg yolk and lemon and stir it in, cook gently without boiling till this thickens and serve all together.


(Ar. Khubs el Beledy).

1 oke native flour, water, salt, a small piece of leaven.

Warm a cupful of water, add the salt and dough (from last baking) and when dissolved mix into the flour, adding more warmed water as needed. Mix well by throwing it from side to side of an earthenware vessel with the hands, add water as required. Sprinkle flour on it, cover with a cloth and leave in the sun to rise. Then shape small pieces of the dough into little round loaves, which are placed on a board sprinkled with " radda ," or bran. Leave this, covered, in a warm place till well risen. Then with the aid of the flat, bat-shaped board specially used for the purpose toss these, one by one into as hot an oven as can be obtained, bake a few minutes till brown and crisp and take out at once.


(Ar. Kaak el eed es soghrayer)

1 rottel semn, 2 rottels flour, 1 rottel sugar, piece of leaven, nuts, corianderseed. For the "sadelhanak" (see following.)

Put the semn on the fire and boil it, add the flour gradually and mix well. Take it off, stir with a spoon till cool enough to touch, then with the hand. Dissolve the dough in tepid water, and add this. It should now be a moderately soft dough. Take a piece of this and roll into a ball, make a hole and stuff it with " Saddelhanak " flavoured with pounded hazel nuts and coriander seeds. It should dip towards the middle and be a little cake, thicker at the edges. Patterns can be printed on it with a special native instrument called a " Moqash ." Put in a greased tin, and bake in a hot oven. Remove and sprinkle with pounded sugar.


(Ar. Sudd el Hanaka).

2 spoons semn or native butter, 4 tablespoons flour, 6 tablespoons castor sugar, 1/2 glass water.

Melt the semn, add the flour and mix smoothly over the fire. Dissolve the sugar in the water, stir it in till the whole is cooked and leaves the side of the pan clean. Almonds or currants can be added if liked, and a little rose-water (Ma'ward) is often dropped in. Set on a plate to get cold, then form into small oval shapes with a dessertspoon and set on a tin in a cool place to harden. It is a rich and pure sweetmeat much appreciated by small Egyptian children.


(Ar. Baqqlowa).

1/2 rottel flour, 2 eggs, salt, water, finely powdered cooking starch (" Nissha beta el tabeerch )", clarified butter, almonds and other nuts, a little honey if liked.

Put the flour into a bowl, make a well and drop in the eggs. Add a little cold water and 1/4 teaspoonful salt. Make a very stiff dough, and knead it well for ten minutes pounding it well with the hands, much more firmly than you would do for English pastry. Put aside for twenty minutes on ice to cool. Now a clean, scrubbed table about a metre square at least and a narrow native rolling pin (" Mastaba )" is required. Sprinkle the table with the starch, and roll out the dough, folding it round the pin and drawing it out till it is as thin as flannel. It should, when done cover the whole table like a thin flannel cloth, and a good cook manages this without tearing holes in the paste, but it is a difficult task at first. Stretch it with the hands as you go, pulling firmly but gently. Now take a flat baking tin or a round one with sides an inch or two deep and brush over thickly with melted semn. Cut out round after round of the paste the size of the tin, using up any broken pieces in between the whole layers, and putting a few spoonfuls of melted semn between each, with honey, nuts and sultanas, and a little rose-water (" Mawayd )", if liked. Cover with a good whole piece of paste, and bake it in a quick oven. Serve cold with a syrup made of sugar and water flavoured with rose-water. Instead of baking the pastry whole in a tin, small pieces may be cut in strips and rolled up with the semn, nuts etc. between, like little Swiss Rolls, and baked in a well greased tin. If well made it should be a crisp golden brown paste, very light, and rather like a French " Mille-feuilles " soaking in plenty of semn and highly scented with rose-water.


(Ar. Ghoraye ba).

6 spoonfuls flour, 3 spoonfuls semn or native butter, 3 spoonfuls soft sugar.

Mix all together to form a stiff dough with the hands. Roll into little balls with the hands, press the thumb on top to flatten and make a depression, and if liked put an almond in this. Bake in a very cool oven on greased paper.


Half an oke meat, minced, 1/4 oke rice flour, 3 eggs, salt, nutmeg, 4 oz. semn, 2 chopped onions.

Chop the meat, pound it and add to it the chopped onions, and rice flour. Season it, mix with the eggs and shape into sausage-like pieces. Fry these in semn and serve in tomato sauce.


1/2 rottel cooking starch, 1 and 1/2 okes sugar, 3/4 litre water, nuts, rose-water and lemon juice.

Put the starch, water and sugar on the fire and cook very gently till it thickens, which takes some 5-6 hours. Stir occasionally and do not let it bum. Then take it off, colour half red and put in rose water, flavour the rest with lemon. Remove it to a shallow dish rubbed with almond oil, and add any nuts desired. When set, cut into squares, roll in soft pounded sugar and pack in sugar and starch (or icing sugar) sprinkled thickly between. Store in a cool place.


1/2 breakfastcupful cooking starch, 2 cups water, half a tablespoon semn, currants, flavouring.

Boil the water and semn together till the latter is dissolved. Add the cleaned currants, sprinkle in the starch. Cook for a few minutes till the starch is done and flavour with any essence desired. Grease a mould with semn, and pour in the mixture. Set on ice till hard, when cold turn out and serve.


1/2 oke flour, 1 egg, 2 spoons semn, 2 spoons breadcrumbs, salt, 3 large apples, spice, sugar.

Mix the flour with water, egg and semn to a softish dough. Roll this out as thinly as possible on a floured board and leave it a little to harden. Fry the breadcrumbs in semn, add the spices and spread this when cool over the dough. Peel the apples, cut in rings and dip in sugar and spices. Put them over the pastry and fold it over and over in alternate layers, apple and pastry. Put it in long strips on a greased tin and bake well. When brown and crisp take it out, cool, and sprinkle thickly with soft sugar. Semn is also usually added between the layers but this makes the pastry exceedingly rich and greasy for European tastes.


6 small cucumbers, 1 bowl " laban zebadi ," seasoning, 1 small onion or a little garlic, mint, and if liked some cream.

Slice the cucumbers and place them in a bowl. Beat up the milk with salt, pepper, chopped onion or garlic, and a little chili or gherkins if liked. Put both, separately, on ice. At the last minute pour the dressing over the cucumber, adding cream to it if liked, and sprinkle chopped mint over the top. It is an excellent salad for serving with cold meat.


1 oke rose petals (small, red ballady roses), 3 okes sugar, 6 lemons.

Clean the petals, picking them over carefully, mix with 1 oke crushed sugar to a pulp. Boil the other two okes sugar with very little water to a thick syrup which bubbles all over and hangs in a thread from the spoon. Add the rose pulp, boil 5 minutes more, strain in the lemon juice, boil one minute and take off. Tie down while hot in clean hot jars. (The "lemons" here spoken of are really the small ballady limes. If using large "Adalia" lemons use half quantities).


1 oke boiled " nefesh " peel, 2 lemons, 1 oke sugar, 1 glass water.

Rub the yellow rind off the peel and cut in inch squares. Boil for 20 minutes, drain, throw away the water, cover with fresh water and boil till soft. Strain off. Add one glass fresh cold water and lemon juice and leave half an hour. Make a syrup of the sugar and half a cup of water, and when thick simmer the peel in it till clear. Lift out the peel, put it into jars, half full, re-boil the syrup adding rose water or orange flower water to flavour, and pour over the peel, tie down while hot. It should be white and clear, with a honey-like flavour.


5 eggs, 5 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, breadcrumbs, vanilla essence.

Beat the eggs and sugar together for half an hour. Fold in the, warmed, sieved, flour, baking powder and essence. Butter a flat, shallow tin, line thickly with browned crumbs, and pour in the mixture, allowing room to rise. Bake in a moderate oven twenty minutes, turn out on a paper thickly dusted with browned crumbs. Cool on a wire sieve.



(Ar. Shorbat el Bamia)

1/2 rottel bamia, 1/2 rottel soup meat, 1/2 tablespoon dripping, 1 onion, 1 pint meat or vegetable stock, seasoning.

Slice the meat and onions, fry in the dripping, add the sliced bamias, toss for a few minutes, add the stock, season and simmer for 2 hours or in a hay-box for 4 hours. Strain, re-heat, season well and serve with fried croûtons.



(Ar. Hammam fil casserole).
(Fr. Pigeons en casserole)

Allow one pigeon to each person, To each bird a slice of fat bacon. 1 tablespoon dripping for three, 1 onion, carrot, turnip, or meat essence and water.

Truss the birds as for roasting and tie the bacon on the breast. Melt the dripping in a saucepan and fry the vegetables lightly, then put all into a fire proof casserole, lay the birds on them, breast upwards, and cover half way up with stock. Stand the casserole in a tin of water, put on the lid, and bake gently two hours, basting occasionally, and turning the birds twice. Serve in the casserole as they are.


(Ar. Feteerat el Hammam).
(Fr. Pâte de Pigeons).

2 pigeons, 1/2 oke beefsteak, a few slices ham or bacon, seasoning, 2 sheets gelatine, stock, 1/2 lb. flaky or Rough Puff pastry.

Clean and cut up pigeons, cut the beef in inch cubes roll up the sliced ham or bacon in small rolls. Put all in cold water to cover and stew 1 and 1/2 hours. (in hay-box three hours). Put in a pie dish, cover with the crust as usual, and bake 3/4 hour in good oven till done. Then take it out, melt the gelatine in about half a teacupful of strong stock, and pour it into the pie through a small funnel, through the hole in the pastry left for ventilation at the top. Cool, and set on ice in hot weather before serving. Salad should be handed with this.



(Ar. Lahhm Dani fil feteerat el dihhn).

1 rottel cold cooked mutton, 1/2 lb. flour, 4 oz. suet, pinch salt, water, stock, remains any cooked vegetables, Worcester Sauce.

Make a suet crust of the flour, suet and water with a pinch of salt. Line a pudding basin with this as for Beefsteak pudding. Put in a layer of meat, then of any cooked vegetables and onion (cooked or raw), season well, fill up with stock. Cover with pastry, tie a cloth on top and boil or steam for 2 hours. Serve in the basin.


(Ar. Vitello bil gelatina fil aleb).

1/2 lb. cooked veal, gravy, 2 sheets gelatine, 3 eggs, lemon rind, bacon or ham, 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs, seasoning.

Cut the meat into small cubes about 1/2 inch square and the bacon or ham about same size. Boil the eggs and slice them, keeping the best bits for decorating the mould. Grease the mould, place the egg at the bottom and fill up with the meat, bacon or ham, chopped eggs, sprinkling each layer with herbs and seasoning. Fill up with stock in which the gelatine has been dissolved and bake for 3/4 hour, filling up with stock as needed, and when removed fill again with the rest of the stock. Set on ice, turn out and serve with potato salad, also iced.


(Ar. Lakhm baqari fil Macarona).

6 oz. cooked beef, 2 oz. fine spaghetti, 2 oz. stale bread, 1 teacup gray, 2 eggs, 1 onion, 1 teaspoon chutney, 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce, pinch dried herbs, 1 teaspoon parsley, 2 oz. dripping, seasoning.

Break the spaghetti small and boil it in fast-boiling water till soft. Drain and cool. Grease a 7 inch cake tin and line it thickly with spaghetti. Mince the meat, then the crumbs, fry the minced onion. Mix all with eggs, gravy, herbs, and seasonings. Fill the mould, put more spaghetti on top and steam for an hour. Turn out on a hot dish and pour tomato sauce round it. Serve with green peas or beans (fasolia) sauté in butter, and piled in little heaps round it. Potatoes are unnecessary as the spaghetti provides sufficient starch food for this dish.



(Ar. Kucheyee).
(Fr. Riz aux lentilles)

2 oz. butter, 1 onion, 1/2 oz. rice, 4 oz. lentils, 2 pints cold water, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 whole cloves.

Melt the butter, fry the onion in rings in it, and when brown add the rice and lentils and toss till all the butter is absorbed. The rice should be very slightly coloured. Now add the water, salt and cloves and cook till the grains are soft. Dry before the fire or in a cool oven as for rice with curry, turning the whole with a fork from time to time, and serve heaped on a very hot dish.



(Ar. Bamia Mastooq fil moya).

Use young green pods only, wash well and snip off, both ends. Place them in plenty of fast-boiling salted water and boil about 20 minutes till quite tender. Drain and serve very hot with a white sauce made of flour, butter, milk and if possible a little cream added at the end, and well seasoned.


(Ar. El Bamia bel Qeshtar).

Prepare and boil the vegetables as above, then drain thoroughly. Put 2 good tablespoons of butter in a saucepan for each 2 dozen bamias, melt it, add 1/4 teacup cream, make hot without boiling, add the. bamias, season sharply and serve.


2 dozen young green bamia, 1 and 1/2 pints water, salt, 1 gill white sauce, 1 dessertspoonful Parmesan cheese, 1 dessertspoonful Dutch cheese, butter, salt, pepper, one egg yolk, half a teacup milk.

Boil the bamia as usual and drain well. Scrape out all the pulp and seeds and mix them with salt, pepper, and half the cheese. Beat the egg in the milk and add it, with a little cream if you have it, put this in a small pie dish, ramekins or scallop shells, dust the surface well with cheese, add a few dabs of butter and bake to a crisp brown and serve hot.


(Ar. El Bamia wel Qoota).

Boil about 2 dozen very young green bamia and either chop them finely when drained or scoop out pith and seeds as above. To this add pulp 4 medium tomatoes, 1/2 teacup thick white sauce, seasoning ; breadcrumbs for the top will also be needed. Mix all the ingredients, season well and cover the ramekins or scallop shells with breadcrumbs and a few dabs of butter. Bake 1/4 hour and serve very hot.


(Ar. El Bamia fil Tosto).

12 bamias, 3 small tomatoes, 1 small onion, seasoning, butter, toast.

Fry the onion in a spoonful of butter, add the sliced skinned tomatoes, simmer for a quarter of an hour and then add the boiled Bamias, sliced. Cover and simmer again gently about half an hour till thick and pulpy. Season well and serve very hot on rounds of well buttered toast.


(Ar. Bedingan Mahhshee fil forrn).
(Fr. Aubergines Farcies).

3 large bedingans, 2 tablespoons dripping, 1 small onion, parsley, bread, seasoning.

Parboil the bedingans, whole, starting them in cold water. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out pulp, put in a bowl with salt, pepper, fried minced onion, herbs, chopped parsley and enough breadcrumb to make a good mixture. Fill into the shells again, sprinkle with brown crumbs, add a few dabs of butter and bake 1/4 hour. Serve hot.


(Ar. Bedingan Mahhshee).

Choose small, even-sized bedingan, boil whole, then remove one end and scoop out the pulp. Mix it with a little tomato pulp, minced onion, herbs, breadcrumbs and cheese. Make a pint of tomato sauce, put the tops on the bedingans and stew in this, in a closed pan till done. Serve with the sauce poured round them.


(Ar. Bedingan Gratin).

1 large bedingan, 2 tablespoons cheese, 2 oz. bread, 1 onion, juice 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup milk, seasoning.

Peel and slice the bedingan, boil in salted water till half done. Strain and chop it up, add rest of ingredients, season well, put in a greased pie dish, cover brown crumbs and a few dabs butter and bake.


(Ar. Bedingan Maqlee).
(Fr. Beynets d' Aubergines).

3 small round bedingans, cheese, egg and crumb.

Parboil the bedingans, slice thickly, dip in egg, crumb them evenly and fry in deep fat. Sprinkle with cheese while very hot, drain well and serve with lemon and parsley. Another way is to cut in thin slices lengthways dip in a thick coating batter and fry till brown, drain, and serve hot.


1 bedingan, 6 eggs, seasoning, milk, flour.

Peel a small bedingan and cut in six thick, slices. Drain well and dip in cold milk then flour well seasoned. Fry in a small frying pan in melted butter for three minutes each side. Break an egg carefully on each slice and put in the oven till set. Dish each neatly on a round of hot fried bread and serve very hot.


(Ar. Bedingan fil Tosto).

Fry six small rounds of bread and keep hot.

1 or 2 bedingans, seasonings, anchovy sauce, 2 tablespoons cream or milk, yolk 1 egg, cheese.

Boil the bedingan and scrape out the pulp, which alone is used. Mix with it salt, pepper and a few drops anchovy sauce. Put it in a bain-marie and add to it the cream and egg yolk and cook till thick. Pour this boiling hot over the toasts and sprinkle Parmesan cheese thickly on top and serve at once. Young and tender bedingans only should be used.


(Ar. Salata el Bedingan).

1 large or two small bedingans, lettuce, anchovies, mayonnaise sauce.

Boil the bedingans, drain well, peel and when cold slice them. Dish on young green lettuce leaves, shredded and put a few strips of boned anchovies and a hard-boiled egg for decoration. Serve with mayonnaise sauce, all very cold.


(Ar. Kuftat el Fool).

1/4 oke haricots, 1 teaspoon parsley, half a small onion, seasoning, milk, fine breadcrumbs, one beaten egg, a pinch of nutmeg, egg and crumb to fry.

Cook the beans and strain them, mash them up with the minced onion, chopped parsley and seasoning, Add about a quarter of their quantity in bread crumbs, one egg to bind, and milk to moisten the whole, season very well; shape into flat cakes or cork-shaped pieces, egg and crumb and fry in boiling fat. Serve with cut lemon and parsley.


(Ar. Fool Nabet).

1/4 oke Egyptian haricots, 1 rottel tomatoes, seasoning.

Soak the beans for two days in water in the dark till they are sprouting, slip off the outer skins, and cook them in a thin tomato sauce made with the tomatoes stewed in a little water and sieved. Season well and serve with roast meat or alone.

LEEKS. (Koratt).

To boil plainly, peel, cook in boiling water with salt and a tablespoonful of vinegar to each litre of water. Coat in white sauce when serving. Preferably they should be neatly trimmed of tops and roots, cut in even pieces a few inches long and boiled in fast boiling water, to which for each litre a table spoonful of vinegar and half a teaspoon of salt are added. When half done they may be taken up, drained, and stewed in boiling stock to just half cover them, this stock being afterwards used to make a brown sauce to coat them, or if cooked in water, they should be drained and coated in white sauce.

GREEN PEPPERS. (Stuffed, Egyptian way).

(Ar. Felfel Makhshee).

Allow about 2-3 green peppers per head, slit them down, or cut off the end, scoop out the seeds and boil the skins 5 minutes, then drain off. Make a stuffing of raw rice (about a teacupful) any remains of cold minced meat or grated cheese, a piece of minced onion, and moisten with tomato pulp. Stuff the shells with this and make a sauce with a little dripping and some tomato pulp, well seasoned. Place the peppers carefully in this and stew about 3/4 hours till tender. Serve with the sauce, very hot.


(Ar. Felfel mahhshee fil forrn).

Slit up each pepper and clean out the seeds, allow 2 shells per head and two over. Boil these as above for five minutes and stuff with any remains of minced onion, and a pinch of herbs. Season well and add a little lemon juice and grated rind. In a fireproof casserole put about an inch depth of any good stock or gravy made of meat essence and water or tomato sauce, and lay the peppers in it neatly. Cover and bake for half an hour in a hot oven and serve in the dish.


Two peppers per head and to 6-8 allow 2 oz. bread, nutmeg, herbs, onion, butter, half egg yolk.

Wash the peppers and fry them whole. Then cut off one end, remove seeds and stuff with a stuffing made of the other ingredients. Put them in a well greased baking tin, add a few lumps of butter and dredge thickly with brown crumbs. Bake 20 minutes and serve hot on toast.


(Ar. Waraq el Enab Mahhshee).

About a dozen very young green vine leaves, remains of meat and its weight in breadcrumbs or raw rice, one onion, one egg, or butter, seasoning, herbs, 1/2 rottel tomatoes.

Peel and slice the tomatoes, put on the fire with a little butter and water and stew gently, then strain and put the pulp in a clean pan or casserole. Wash the vine-leaves carefully, remove stalks, and use very young ones only. Mix the minced meat with the rice (or bread), minced onion, herbs and an egg or melted butter to bind, or a little brown thick sauce will do for this. Roll a spoonful of this mixture up in each leaf, tying with cotton if they will not keep neatly rolled, and pack them in the jar with the sauce. Simmer gently or bake in a closed casserole till tender, about 3/4 hour. Serve neatly piled up, with the sauce over, and if cotton has been used to tie the rolls see that it is removed before serving.


(Ar. Kheear Maslooq fil selza).

Six medium sized cucumbers, 3-4 small onions, 6 poached eggs, brown gravy, 2 tablespoons fat.

Peel, cut in quarters and remove seeds from cucumbers and drain on a cloth. Dip in seasoned flour and fry in boiling fat. Lift out on to a dish. Slice the onions finely and fry them in the fat, and when done put back the cucumbers and cover them with good brown gravy or stock with one teaspoonful meat essence in it. Stew gently till quite tender. Strain the sauce, thicken it with cornflour, boil up, and cook a few minutes. Pour the sauce round them and dish the poached eggs neatly round the edge.


Choose young, unripe cucumbers, and take sufficient vinegar to cover them. Soak them first, whole, in sufficient brine to cover, and then strain, cut in half lengthwise, peel them thinly. Boil up the vinegar, allowing to each pint 1/2 oz. whole peppercorns, 1/2 oz. allspice or mixed spice, 1/2 teaspoonful salt and ginger to taste. When thoroughly boiling add the cucumbers and boil a few minutes. Take it off, leave a day to cool, then put in jars and keep a month at least before using. It must be kept air-tight or the vinegar ferments.



(Ar. Kostaleta el Goz).
(Fr. Cotelettes de Noix).

2 teacups white breadcrumbs, 1 oz. shelled walnuts, 1 dessertspoon butter, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, a pinch of mace or spice, 1 dessertspoon flour, 1 teacup milk, seasoning, cheese, 1 beaten egg, lemon juice.

Melt the butter, add the flour and milk and boil till thick, add the other ingredients and plenty of seasoning, and sufficient egg to bind all together. Now add about a teaspoonful lemon juice, and turn it out on a plate to get cold. Shape into cutlets, with two knives, egg, crumb and fry them. A piece of raw macaroni can be inserted in the end to look like the cutlet bone, and the dish should be decorated with fried parsley, and; if liked, cut lemon and brown sauce may be served with it.


(Ar. Kastaleta beta el Fool Soudanee).

4 oz. shelled ground nuts or "Fool Soudanee," 2 oz. well-boiled rice, 2 eggs, 1/2 teacup tomato purée or sauce, salt, pepper, cheese, a pinch of spice and a pinch of white sugar. A little Celery Salt is an improvement. Walnuts.

Pound up the nuts, mix all to a stiff paste, cool, shape into rolls or cutlet-shaped pieces, roll in seasoned flour, or egg, crumb, and fry. Serve a fried half walnut on each.



(Ar. Kreitia beta el Yusef Effendi).
(Fr. Creme a I'Orange).

3 sheets leaf gelatine, 2 tablespoons water, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon orange juice or 1 teaspoon orange essence, 2 oz. sugar, 2 Yusef Effendi oranges, 1 teacup cream, 1 pint milk.

Dissolve gelatine in water. Put the milk and thinly pared orange rind (the yellow outer rind only) in a pan, and boil till well flavoured. Make the milk into a custard with eggs and sugar. Cool and strain in the gelatine, then add the essence or orange juice and whipped cream. If liked the egg whites may be kept back from the custard, whisked well with the cream and added at this stage. Pour about a third of the cream into a mould or glass dish, cover with slices of Yusef Effendi oranges from which pips have been removed and set it, then add more cream, more oranges, and set, with a final layer of the cream. Serve very cold, in the glass dish or turn out on to a cold plate if a mould has been used.



(Ar. Mrobat el Balekh Iswed).

5 okes small black dates (dessert fruit), 2 and 1/2 okes " ras " sugar, 6 small limes, 3/4 bottle of ginger essence (small size).

Skin the dates without washing them, stone them and throw them into the pan, dipping each in cold water first as you do so. Add the sugar, sliced whole limes, and simmer gently for two hours till it will jell. Pour in the ginger and tie down at once in hot jars.


(Ar. Mrobat el Balekh el Assfar).

Use the large yellow dates, peel them and allow to each pound when boiled 3/4 pound sugar, almonds, peel and cloves for stuffing them and if liked 2 inch stick of cinnamon, lemons.

Peel the dates, cover with cold water and boil half an hour. Drain, weigh them and push out the stones with a skewer, pushing in an almond or bit of crystallised peel in their place, and into a few whole cloves. Make a syrup of the sugar and a cupful of water, boil till it will spin a thread from the spoon and bubbles all over, then put in the dates and cook for 2 hours or more according to the quantity. The fruit is tender and looks transparent when done. If the syrup is thin boil it up again after the dates are removed. Tie down in hot jars at once.

Indian Recipes.


The curry turned out by an average Berberine cook is a greasy yellow stew tasting of little else beside raw curry powder and onion. But with a little teaching a very fair imitation of the real thing may be obtained, though, as fresh curry stuffs are not sold in Egyptian bazaars, it lacks the full flavour of the real Indian dish. The following recipes are all genuine old Indian recipes, used for many years in our household, and can be depended on to be followed out exactly. If cocoanut is not liked or unobtainable it can be omitted, but all curries are the better for it, and should also be flavoured with something sharp such as lemon or tamarind, sweet as chutney or jam of some kind, and an acid fruit such as apple or Cape Cooseberry. Good butter is far better than dripping or lard, and the "nut milk" gives a very characteristic flavour.

In making curry remember that to be correct it should be in such a state that it can be eaten with a spoon and fork. Meat should be cut into squares an inch thick, and chicken into small pieces, and vegetables into neat slices or blocks. Potatoes should never appear in a curry, but to suit English taste can be served separately fried if wanted, though with the rice provided they are not really, needed, as the meal then becomes too starchy. Curry should never be dished with the rice round it in the English way, but in a separate dish with plenty of dry, well-boiled rice handed separately. Use the best brand of curry powder that you can buy and unless the hot taste is disliked be generous in the use of it, and remember that half the flavour of the curry depends on frying the curry powder well. Unless mentioned in the recipes never thicken a curry with flour, the gravy should in most cases be rather thin and greasy.


Allow about half a pound or a good breakfastcupful of raw rice for three to four people. Pick it over, wash well, and throw into a large pan of fast-boiling salted water. Skim off the dirt which rises to the surface and boil it fast for about 15 minutes. Test a grain or two between finger and thumb and if soft it is done. It must not be pappy and ready to break up. Throw in a cup of cold water to stop the boiling and take it off the fire. Drain it through a colander, keeping the rice water for use in the stock pot, and put the rice back again over very gentle heat, or spread it out on a warm dish in front of the fire or on the top of a Perfection Oven (not inside which hardens it) and shake it about to dry it, turning it over with a fork from time to time. Serve it roughly heaped in a dish, and do not allow the cook to mould it as he loves to do, for this means it is not properly dried.


The water found inside a cocoanut is not what is required for use, What you need is an infusion of fresh cocoanut or chopped almonds in boiling water. This may after a few minutes be poured off and the nut re-steeped for use a second time.



(Ar. Shorbat el Karree).
(Fr. Potage a l'Indienne).

1 tablespoon butter, 1 onion, sliced, 1 tablespoon curry paste or powder, stock, 1 tablespoon red currant jelly, lemon juice, 1 dessertspoon chutney, 3 pints white stock, 4 oz. almonds or cocoanut, 1 breakfastcup water, 1 oz. flour, 1 oz. butter, coffeecupful cream or yolks 2 eggs, salt.

Slice and fry the onion in the butter, add the curry paste and just enough stock to make it like mayonnaise sauce. Then add the jelly, lemon juice, chutney, and gradually the rest of the stock. Simmer for a quarter of an hour, add the almond or cocoanut milk, and take it off, mix well and strain. In a clean pan melt the one ounce of butter, stir in the ounce of flour, blend well and add the soup gradually. When boiling well for a few minutes, and the flour is cooked, take it off, stir in the cream or egg yolks, and re-heat without boiling. Season well and serve, with or without plain boiled rice. This recipe is enough for 6 to 8 persons.


1 small chicken, 2 onions, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon curry paste or powder, 2 pints warm water, 2 oz. cocoanut or almonds, 1 coffee cup milk, pinch sugar, 1 dessertspoon chutney, 1 teaspoon red currant jelly, 1 teaspoon lime juice or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon butter.

Cut up the chicken in small joints as for stewing, soak in cold water for a quarter of an hour. Slice the onions, and put them in the butter to fry, add the chicken and brown it. Then remove the chicken, and fry the curry paste or powder for five minutes. Stir in the water and add the chicken putting more water if it is not properly covered. Simmer for an hour gently. Pound up the nuts and steep them in the milk with a pinch of sugar. When the chicken is quite tender, add the chutney, jelly, lime juice ; simmer ten minutes more and strain off. Pick out the best bits of chicken to serve in the soup, and put them aside. Skim the soup well, and thicken it by melting the butter, adding the flour and cooking all for five minutes. Strain in the "almond milk" and bring it to the boil, then serve hot with the chicken floating in it, with or without rice handed separately.


Proceed exactly as above, using half a pound of neck or breast of mutton instead of the chicken.


1 rottel of any good firm white fish without bones (the fish is known as " Goyoos " is excellent). 1 small onion, 1 dessertspoon butter, half a teaspoon curry powder, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 small cocoanut grated, salt.

Scrape the cocoanut, pour on to it a breakfastcupful of boiling water and leave it to infuse. Clean and slice the fish, chop the onion in rings. Melt the butter, fry the onion, curry powder, and, if liked, add two green chillies, sliced. Then add the fish. the cocoanut infusion strained from the nut, and the vinegar. Simmer till the fish is tender. Add a little more boiling water to the cocoanut and use this, strained, if more liquid is required, but keep the stew as dry as possible without burning. At the end a tablespoonful of the grated cocoanut can be added and the juice of a lime. This is usually served without rice as a breakfast dish, but boiled rice can be served with it as for curry, and then it makes a good dish for lunch. (If disliked the cocoanut can be omitted, and fish stock made from the fish bones, head etc., used instead, but the cocoanut flavour is really a marked one in a true "Molee").


1 rottel good lean meat, 1 dessertspoon butter, 1 small onion, 1 heaped tablespoonful curry powder, 1 stock, juice 1 2 small tomatoes, 1 teacupful lime, 1 dessertspoonful chutney or red currant jelly, 1 teaspoonful sugar, and if liked 1 teacupful cocoanut infusion and 1 tablespoonful cocoanut, and 1 raw apple, chopped.

Melt the butter, fry the sliced onion in rings to a golden brown, add the curry powder and fry slowly without blackening it, about 5 minutes, stirring well. Pour in the stock, add the meat cut in inch cubes, and the sliced, peeled tomatoes, and simmer 1 and 1/2 hours very slowly. Let it stand half an hour, then add the lime juice, sugar and jelly or chutney and if liked the cocoanut milk, cocoanut and apple, finely minced. Boil up again a few minutes and serve, with plenty of boiled rice, handed separately.


1 young chicken, other ingredients as above.

Cut the chicken into small, neat joints, removing the drumsticks, and cutting wings in half, and the breast slices in small pieces. Cook exactly as for beef curry, and when finished it should be tender enough to remove from the bones with a spoon and fork.


(Ar. Karre b'el Gambary).
(Fr. Crevettes a l'Indienne)

1 and 1/2 rottel prawns, 2 cucumbers, 1 cocoanut, 1 cup boiling water, 1 oz. butter, 1 onion, 1 dessertspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 level teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 breakfastcup fish stock or rice water, 1 teaspoon lime juice.

Peel the cucumbers, cut them in quarters and remove seeds. Cut across in pieces an inch long and stew in salted water. Weigh the prawns in shell, boil in salted boiling water till they turn pink, drain, and remove shells and heads. Slit them down and clean the black gritty dirt from sides and back by slitting and scraping them, and throw into a bowl of cold water. Cut each in two or three pieces, dust with flour and pile on a dish. If cocoanut is used grate it, and pour on a breakfastcup of boiling water to infuse. Prepare a half pint of good fish or vegetable stock.

Melt the butter, slice the onions in rings and fry them, add curry powder and fry without blackening for five minutes, then strain in the cocoanut water, and add salt, sugar and spices. Add the stock and, if liked, a few green chillies. Take off it the fire, add the prawns and cucumber and leave on a bain-marie or saucepan of boiling water at the side of the fire for half an hour to absorb the flavour. Now boil up again on the fire, simmer for a quarter of an hour when all should be tender and well cooked. Serve with boiled rice. (Chicken Curry can be made in the same way and " cosa ," the small green marrows, substituted for cucumbers).


(Ar. Kufta Hindi)
(Fr. Fritteus a l'Indienne)

1 teacup raw rice, 6 oz. cooked veal, 2 oz. ham or bacon, 1 teaspoon chutney, 1 gherkin, 1 teaspoon curry powder, lemon juice, frying batter, 1 small onion, pinch spice, brown sauce.

Mince the meat, ham, chutney, gherkins and onion and mix. Boil the rice and drain well. Mix all with curry powder, salt, and brown sauce or raw egg to bind. Cool, shape with a spoon and knife into flat cakes, dip in a thick coating batter (made as for pancakes but use half the usual quantity of milk) and fry in boiling fat. Serve hot, garnished with cut lemon, and if liked a little curry sauce.


1/2 rottel cooked veal or chicken, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 dessertspoon curry powder, 1 minced onion, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon chutney. 1 teaspoon sugar, salt to taste, 1 breakfastcupful milk or white stock, 4 large even-sized cucumbers (the " ballady " kind is intended).

Fry the onion in butter, add curry powder and fry, add minced meat (cooked or raw) and simmer. If the meat has been cooked a quarter of an hour will do, if raw, an hour to an hour and a half is needed. Add lemon juice, chutney, sugar, season well, and use as much stock throughout as is necessary to keep it moist but not liquid. Peel the cucumbers, cut in half, remove part of the inside to form a case and stew them or leave raw as liked. Cool the curry and fill into the, cucumber shapes, and set on ice till quite cold. (To improve the look of the cases they may be stamped with a fluted cutter before filling).

" TYRE. "

(Ar. Laban Zebadi).

Over-night warm, the milk (about a breakfastful per head) without boiling it. Put into it a piece of stale butter the size of a large pea to each cup, and leave in a warm place eight to ten hours, when it should be set. (In Egypt the Arabs prepare this by keeping a little of the sour milk from the day before, but either way is effective.) If left covered over in the sun a few hours it will set ; or put it in the " little forn" as the servants call the oven under the fire, when the latter is dying out for the night). It should be served with jam or sugar, and if possible with cream.


(Ar. El Mangar b'il Keshtar).

6 green mangoes, 2 oz. sugar, 1 teacupful cream or milk, cochineal.

Peel the mangoes, slice them, remove seeds and boil till quite tender. The seeds can be added to the pulp when boiling if it is difficult to remove the Pulp from them and then removed. Sieve the pulp and sweeten it. Mix in with it enough cold boiled milk or cream to make a custard-like consistency, and fill into custard glasses or champagne glasses or a deep glass bowl. Save a little of the cream to whip and decorate the top, and add a few drops of cochineal if liked to colour the mixture if not red enough when ready to put into the glasses. Small and unripe mangoes can be used for this and one or two more may be needed if they are very poor, it is an excellent and very uncommon sweet. Serve ice-cold.


These chutneys are made in small quantities as required and handed round with the curries, in small saucers or Hors d'oeuvres dishes.

  • Sliced banana, fresh, sprinkled with salt.

  • Thin rings of raw spring onion, covered lightly with vinegar and a little chopped chillies.

  • Tomatoes sliced, the seeds and juice drained off, chopped with a quarter of their weight in raw Spring Onions seasoned with salt, chillies and vinegar.

  • Cucumber, cut in strips, mixed with a little minced raw onion, chillies, and parsley, moistened with vinegar, sprinkled with salt, sugar and pepper and oil.

  • Roast salted peanuts. (Fool Soudanee).

  • Shredded fresh cocoanut.

  • Pickled onions, whole.

  • Mint, pounded and flavoured with minced onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and chillies.

  • Mashed potatoes, cold, flavoured with onion, chillies, salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar.

  • Minced tinned pineapple, sprinkled with salt, pepper and vinegar.

  • Raw Mangoes prepared like the Cucumber, above.

  • " Popadums ," of which a good imitation can be made by mixing a dough of flour, water, salt, with no shortening at all, rolling out to water thinness and baking them on a hot griddle. They should be stamped in rounds about 4 inches across and eaten hot or cold.


(Ar. Koocheree Hindi).

1/2 rottel rice, 4 oz. lentils, 1 litre cold water, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 cloves (whole), half an onion, 2 tablespoonfuls butter or dripping.

Melt the butter, slice onion in rings and fry it a golden brown, then remove it and put aside to keep warm on a plate. Put the well washed rice and lentils into the butter and toss about till it is all absorbed and the rice slightly coloured. Add half the water, the salt, the cloves, and cook slowly, adding more water as necessary as it gets dry, but never making it liquid. When ready all the water should be used up and absorbed. Spread on a flat dish before the fire or on top of a Perfection Oven, to dry, tossing with a fork occasionally. Garnish with the fried onions and serve hot. This makes a good vegetarian dish for lunch and children usually like it.


1/2 rottel lentils, 1 pint water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 breakfast cup rice, 1 tablespoonful butter, 6 cloves, a little extra butter, 1 onion, salt.

Melt the butter, fry the onion, add the lentils and toss till they absorb the butter; add the water and boil to thick porridge. Fry the cloves in a very little extra butter, and when serving put them to the lentils. Boil the rice as for curry and serve in a separate dish. An excellent lunch dish for children.

RICE KHEER (in milk).

(Ar. Roz bel Laban).

1/2 rottel rice, 2 breakfastcups milk, 2 inches cinnamon stick, 2 tablespoons white sugar.

Boil the rice, drain it thoroughly and then put in a pan with the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick, and a pinch of salt. Cook slowly till the milk is absorbed, stirring well. Turn out on a hot dish, arrange roughly with a fork, and serve very hot. Or grease a mould, add the rice, press down, and turn out when cold, serve with cream. Children like this dish for breakfast as a change.


(Ar. Bouding el Hindi).

4 oz. butter, 4 oz. semolina, 4 oz. sugar, 1 teacupful milk, 2 oz. sultanas, 1 oz. shelled pistachio nuts, 1 oz. grated cocoanut, 1 oz. shelled almonds, 6 cardamoms, pinch of salt.

Melt the butter, add semolina (which should be very fine) and mix well. Then add prepared fruit, chopped nuts, seeds only of cardamoms, and grated cocoanut. Moisten it with enough milk to make a soft dough, and keep stirring over the fire till semolina is cooked. Turn into a greased mould, set on ice and turn out when cold. It makes an excellent sweet and will, keep for some days.

The Rare Recipes pages contain African and African-inspired recipes from antique and out-of-print cookbooks.

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