Category Archives: Where to Find Ingredients

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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“Whitey” Bulgur Kefteh

Howie Carr is a horrible person, but the story of the Bulger brothers is fascinating.

Al-Masri al-Yum readers clamoring for healthful alternatives having reached an all time high, we reached out to our correspondents to provide them with that for which they’ve been clamoring. “Members Only” Jaquette here offers a healthful (and vegan, for those keeping track) alternative to al-Masri al-Yum’s usual fare.

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Certain things are predictable: the presence of at least one person you know in Horeyya on any given night, that party boats on the Nile will always be playing the “El-3aineb” song by Saad el-Sagheer (I shouldn’t knock, that’s how I learned my first colors in Arabic), that requests to unsubscribe from Cairoscholars will be sent to the list, and that every couple months I will suddenly lose taste for all the recipes I usually cook. The quest for new flavors usually starts with feverish internet browsing, which leads to kitchen experimentation, which most recently has lead to this gem of a recipe: Bulgur, Pumpkin and Chard Kefteh.

For all you with more savory hankerings than sweet teeth, this recipe is quick, healthy, and delicious – plus none of the ingredients require a trip to Metro, Alfa, or the like. The Cairo version is adopted from this recipe for Bulgur and Winter Squash Kefteh (thanks NYT!) and fulfills a craving for whole grains and dark leafy greens.  Those are the kinds of food cravings I fall victim to, at least.

Recipe after the jump.

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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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Golden Brown

With TBE's Lensman on assignment (not for us), TBE has been forced to use this gross approximation of the golden brown color one should aspire to when making grilled cheese.

TBE recently went through a thoroughly disheartening financial crisis unheard of in the annals of modern and postmodern journalism. As such, we were in no position to enjoy the lavish buffets and champagne-fueled lunches to which our staff had become accustomed. Instead we set our sights on those luxuries that were still within reach. That is how we developed an intimate acquaintance with grilled cheese, a very precise recipe for which follows after the jump, along with a song to inspire you.

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Filed under 4 Daily Consumption, Recipes, Where to Find Ingredients