Category Archives: Ingredients

MEGA

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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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.

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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

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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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Brown Sugar

A while back we made congo bars, and we were planning to post about it, but we were forced against our collective will to use dark brown sugar, which has a heady, dank molasses flavor to it, overpowering the subtle interplay of butter, chocolate chips and walnuts that characterizes that baked good. Thus we abstained from posting.

Molasses is one of those ingredients that provokes strong reactions, most people either love it or hate it. As charter members of the lesslasses club, we come down on the latter side of the great molasses debate.

All of which is a roundabout way of revealing that we found light brown sugar, in Maadi of all places. It can be found at the supermarket on the left corner right at the beginning of Road 9 when one is coming from the Maadi proper metro stop, or at Miriam Market, at or near the intersection of Roads 205 and 253 in Degla.

Miriam Market also stocks red food coloring, which our red velvet-loving friends assure us is very difficult to procure in Cairo.

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Spinach a le Prince

"You've got the spinach so why don't you cook it?"

Some of our readers have complained in the offline comment section of which our aura consists that al-Masri al-Yum is overly devoted to recipes containing inordinate amounts of sugar or cream and other ingredients that the more healthful and/or philistine amongst us abhor. Before another bout of clothes-renting and assaults on our “I’m not rich but my food is” bumper sticker philosophy, please be advised that we are lining up some contributors that promise much healthier fare, including an adherent to the mysterious cult of raw food currently sweeping Egypt and the world. At any rate, creamed spinach is at least half healthy. It’s a frisson, mayne!

Recipe after the jump.

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Sir Francis Bacon

Don’t call it a comeback, but it looks as though pork might be returning to Egypt.

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