The land of Pharaohs and the Pyramids, Egypt has been home to various civilisations throughout history, shaping up Egyptian cuisine. But how much is really known about the cuisine, besides the fact that it is heavily influenced by neighbouring regions, Egypt borders the Mediterranean in the Northeastern part of Africa. Its commonalities with the cuisines of Greece, Turkey, and Israel are reflected in the grills, salads, and condiments, but Egyptian food’s uniqueness gives way in the free use of legumes, vegetables, rice, breads, and choice meats, as witnessed in the Egyptian Food Festival at Syrah at Hyatt Regency Delhi.

The traditional menu curated by Chef Mohamed Kassem and Chef Abdelkarim Kurdi is extensive and replete with diverse and delish flavours. We started with the Alexandria soup, sharp and comforting. This seafood soup, in tomato base, comes with the goodness of shrimp, squid, red snapper and lobster. One can further spruce it up with Arabic croutons or tiny, thin flakes of dough and lemon for a wholesome experience. 

Then there was a series of impressive salads, beetroot and the baladi, the latter made with fresh and crunchy iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato and mint, parsley and olive oil that outshines the former. Then came the meats, starting with Sujuk Iskandrani, the spicy, fermented Egyptian sausage tossed up with onion, garlic, tomato and chillies. The next dish, Kebda Djaj, consisted of chicken liver tossed in the similar combination of spices, both making for a delightful starter.  

We kick-started our mains with Hawashi Lahm, a baked Egyptian savoury pastry made with thin pieces of Pita stuffed with minced lamb, parsley, nutmeg, tomato and onion. Easily one of the highlights of the day. The filling is perfectly creamy and savoury complemented aptly by the freshly baked pita. If your meaty cravings desire more then you must try Nus Frakh Mashwie. On a sizzling hot plate, half-grilled chicken and lamb kebabs create magic.  

Next, we tried our hands on Samak Singary or baked fish fillet, finished with a toss-up of garlic, onion, coriander and capsicum. The tender fish goes well with Saiadia rice, seasoned with tomatoes, salt, pepper and cumin. The flavour is soothingly familiar and the dish much recommended. Here’s the recipe for the same. See, if you can make this epic fish-rice dish at home.  

Ingredients:  

  • 180 gms sole fish
  • 50 gms rice
  • 40 gms butter
  • 10 gms shrimp
  • 10 gms squid
  • 25 gms onion
  • 50 gms tomato peeled
  • 20 gms garlic chopped  
  • 10 gms tomato paste
  • 15 gms coriander leaves
  • 20 gms lemon
  • 5 gms cumin powder
  • 15 gms coriander powder

Method:

  • Heat the pan and sear the fish.
  • Place it on a tray and bake it with onion, coriander tomato and cumin.
  • Sauteed the shrimp and calamari, add coriander, cumin and rice.
  • Cover it with fish stock and cook it on low heat.

For the sauce:

  • Heat the pan and saute the garlic till it turns golden.
  • Add coriander powder, white onion.
  • Mix tomato paste and tomato peel and add it in the pan and cook on low heat till it gets done.