Sunday, February 20, 2011

A culinary tour around the world - sixth stop: Egypt

Sadly I missed last week's stop Thailand. What a great opportunity for veggie curries I missed :( ....
But well, life goes on and after fighting a really bad cold and a pyelitis I'm nearly fit to go anywhere. Well, nearly.
But let us have a look where Joan from foodalogue is taking us this week for our culinary tour around the world:

Can you guess? Right, it's Egypt!
I was twice in Cairo, and although this might not be reflecting any knowledge about the rest of the country, I at least did eat some original Egyptian food in my life. Strangely not a lot kept in my memory. We still remember Umm Ali, a sweet and heavy desert which the boys devoured in great quantities. But I'm still working on my own veganised version, so this takes a little bit more time.
I know that I loved Karkadeh a lovely hibiscus tea which you can drink hot or cold. And I of course remember ful nabed, the Egyptian fava bean stew. I couldn't get either hibiscus or fava beans, and I still wasn't well enough to drive to the next greater town to look for the ingredients, so I decided on something simple. A soup, since soups seem to help in all matters of bad health.
I decided on a cauliflower soup with cumin and fennel from

North African Cauliflower Soup with Cumin, Chives and Fennel (source:



2 1/2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups diced potatoes

5 cups chopped cauliflower

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel

4 cups hot water

2 vegetable bouillon cube

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt & freshly ground black pepper

chopped tomatoes and chives


In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, saute onions in vegetable oil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until translucent.

Add the potatoes, cumin, and fennel; cook for 1 minute.

Add the hot water; cover, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.

Add the cauliflower and bouillon cubes and return to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the vetetables are tender.

In a blender, puree and vegetable/broth mixture until smooth.

Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

Reheat the soup, being careful not to scorch it.

Serve warm; garnish with chopped tomatoes and chives.

It was a good soup, but to say it reflects the spirits of Egypt is going too far. So in the end I was a bit dissappointed. For a little bit of comfort, here some photos of Cairo I took two years ago (obviously with an awful camera):

Overview over Cairo

Homes for the poor along the Nile (I can only hope that this will now change for the better)

Pyramid of Khufu, but have a look at the sign for the perfumery 'Ramses'
on the right-hand side, it is written in Russian!


  1. I really like the recipe for this soup. Fennel is my favorite spice.

    Glad you're feeling better. I hope you can make the trip to Nigeria.

  2. Umm Ali is one of my favourite Middle Eastern desserts too. I like this recipe for soup too as it sounds fresher than the usual cauliflower soups with cream. Perhaps it'll tempt my vegetarian daughter to eat cauliflower. I like your Cairo pics btw as it shows the reality that the Giza pyramids are actually in the suburbs rather than in a deserted desert location.

  3. Ehi don't be disappointed, your soup is great! Nice to see you again in our tour and hope to see you in Nigeria!

  4. What a wonderful soup. Great photos.