Strawberry Grapefruit Compote

In moments when you’re pining for decent Mexican food, bagels, pho, or other near-impossible-to-find foods, or when you’ve had one too many bucket of koshary, or when Egypt’s cuisine is just getting you down, it helps take a minute to ruminate on one thing that Egypt has definitely got going for it foodwise: delicious, fresh, bursting-with-flavor fruits and vegetables – for cheap. Strawberries certainly find themselves on my list of favorite fruit, especially here – no where else have I tasted strawberries so sweet and so flavorful.  Yet even with such a sweet spot for them, I have a hard time finishing a tray before the mold starts creeping in… especially now, at the end of the season, when the fruit doesn’t seem to last as long before going bad.  So as a way to salvage fruit that is otherwise soon headed for the bin, we offer a quick, easy compote recipe.  Of course you do have to start before your fruit has gone off, so don’t wait too long…

Recipe after the jump.

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zeitouzy & forgetfood

Dearest Readers,

Ay! Ay! Okay! Okay! Zeitouzy! Zeiteezy!

Al-Masri al-Yum and the whole TBE family wish to inform you that we’ve started a new food-related twitter, Zeitouzy. The reason we named it that can be found in our inaugural tweet.

Expect all the unintelligible inside jokes and willful obscurantism of our previous endeavors, which will constitute reviews of restaurants into which you may never set foot.

In addition to our new venture, we’re proud to announce an important addition to Doha’s food-tweeting scene, forgetfood. This one was begun in the Nabokovian Speak, Memory tradition of remembering what’s good and what is yanni not so nice.

All the best,



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Let’s be honest – 50% of the reason I bought this was the packaging alone. Could you have passed up the font, the psychedelic flowery swirls straight out of the 60s, the little Camembert slice levitating over the apples?  The other 50% has something to do with the fact that we’ve just had a lovely, generous houseguest who arrived from Paris toting several varieties of cheeses we hadn’t even thought about in months.  The cheeses were promptly devoured, which means that when our guest returned to France, we were left with cravings for fromage like the stuff that had briefly graced our fridge… but weren’t exactly prepared to pay import prices at the supermarket.  Oh, that elusive midrange merchandise…

So the verdict is that Mega Camembert (Made in Egypt) is worth approximately 16le, which is convenient, because that’s exactly how much it costs.  It’s not amazing.  The white exterior had a foamy texture, and we’ve no idea how the manufacturers managed that.  It tastes like Camembert about as much as local ‘special’ cheddar tastes like cheddar.  It’s an approximation.  But it would be pretty good melted in an omelette, and when the imported alternatives are upwards of 40le, it’s nice to know you have options.

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Just Like Tom Yum Blues

True to our word, we’re back at you with the first of some Thai dishes.  The lemongrass and tamarind we found at Alfa last week were just begging to be put to good use, and we were all to happy to oblige.  Loosely based off this recipe for Tom Yum soup, we found plenty of useful suggestions for substitutions at Thai Kitchen, but were able to get our hands on a surprising number of the ingredients.  The great success of this soup, however, was the broth – spicy, sour, fragrant – and all from scratch.  We have a love-hate relationship with Maggi bouillon cubes, as of course we want our soup broth to taste like something (hopefully something delicious, and definitely like more than water), but the grimy residue left in pots and bowls after a Maggi-based soup has been devoured is…. unappealing, to say the least.  So we took a stab at making the broth ourselves, and were pleasantly surprised with the results.

Even with all the lemongrass and lemon rind and lemon juice in this recipe, we couldn’t get enough of that citrus tang, so we paired this soup with limoncello. Second good decision of the night.

Oh, and did we mention this soup is vegan?  Don’t let that let you think it’s not delicious.  It’s vegan, vegetarian, and delicious.

Recipe after the jump.

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Honey Stella Bread

Inspired by Bisoux at The Great American Breakfast Quest (former Cairene, by the way), I decided to try a Cairo twist on her recipe for Agave Beer Bread.  While she suggests the bread as a perfect activity for those snowed in on the East Coast of the US, ideally paired with blanket fortresses and Scrabble extravaganzas, I didn’t think I could wait till I see snow again to try this creation.  I’ll also have to wait to try her Guinness, Vermot Wheat Beer, and Pennsylvania Lager variations, but that just can’t be helped, so until then, I’ll settle for Stella.

This recipe is for those of you who simply can’t get enough Stella for all the Baladi Bars in Cairo, those who claim Stella runs through your veins, who scoff at foreigner friends’ inquiries of “Oh, do you mean Artois?” – and also for those of you who have admitted to yourself that, garnished with a lemon or not, you’re just holding out for those beers from home, and perhaps “The Taste of Egypt” will taste better baked in the oven.

The advantages of this bread, as Bisoux enthuses, are that it takes just an hour to make – no kneading, rising, or entire afternoons needed.  “It’s a good way to use up those extra bottles of beer leftover after a party. Oh, and it’s pretty much foolproof!”  The crust to this bread is simply divine: thick, crusty, and obviously blessed by the Stella Fairy (surely it’s not due to the amount of butter drizzled on top pre-baking!). The bread itself is somewhere between a traditional savory loaf, and a sweeter, more cake-y bread like banana bread.  Try it with cheese (Egyptian Cheddar is always a good choice), jam, or more butter, perhaps graced by a sprinkling of cinnamon & sugar.

Recipe after the jump.

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Alfa Beta (Lady) Gaga

Ceremoniously accepting the passing of the torch, we wish TBE the best in his time out of Egypt, and hope he’s remembered to pack enough dried molokheyya.  Meanwhile, we’re glad to serve you up with more restaurant reviews, recipes (healthful, sugar-laden, beer-infused, and everything else we can think of), and the scoop on where to find those hard-to-find ingredients, including the following.


Oh Alfa Market, you chamber of secrets, you hidden temple of wonders.  Last week I found bok choy and fresh bean sprouts in the vegetable aisle, and this week?  Lemongrass!  Pair that with the tamarind nabbed from the Asian foods section, and I feel some Thai dishes coming on.  I’ve heard legends of tofu hidden amongst the leafiness of vegetabledom in Alfa, but my searches have yet to be met with success.  The Asian foods shelf is bountifully stocked, however, featuring rice noodles, dried seaweed, tapioca pearls, a variety of pastes and sauces, and more.  Fans of Mexican fare can also find tortillas here, both soft flour tortillas and hard corn tortilla shells.

Thusly: the upside of Alfa includes the existence of foods I dared not hope could be found in Cairo.  The downside: availability / reliability… I’m still dreaming of the day when I can find bok choy, sprouts, tofu, and lemongrass all on the same trip to the store.

Lemongrass: 7 le
Tamarind: 10 le

Alfa Market is located in Zamalek, on 4 El Malek El Afdal St. Pass the moat, Olmec, and the Steps of Knowledge; beside the Supreme Council of Antiquities.  Alternatively, if you’re heading towards Mohandiseen on 26th of July, turn right one street after the second Misr gas station (the last street before the bridge) and as the road veers to the left, Alfa Market is on your left.  They deliver.  Tel: 19299, 02-27370805, 02-27370802, 02-27370801


Filed under Ingredients, Where to Find Ingredients

Changing of the Guard

Food for thought: Lady Gaga video shoot or military pomp and circumstance?

As some of you may know, TBE’s editorial staff has had it up to here with Cairo’s cold, cold weather, and we’re making the move to a warmer climate. Al-Masri al-Yum will soldier on, however, under the stewardship of a new editor, the estimable “Members Only,” whose posts you’ve no doubt been enjoying over the last several days.

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