Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
6 May 2013 - 5:06 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM


Arabic for “Spice Mix”. The blend consists of pimento, white and black pepper, lots of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. This all purpose blend is popular for enhancing the flavour of fish, chicken, beef, vegetables, particularly bamya (okra), tomato sauces and soups.


The Egyptians love this highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef that is popular throughout the Middle East.


This herb, used in Dukkah, is also a key ingredient in the national dish of Egypt, Molokhia.


A spice from ground seeds of the cuminum cyminum. Commonly used on Ful (beans), seafood dishes, marinades and in Dukkah, a blend of roasted nuts seasoned with spices. (See Dukkah recipe)

Feteer meshaltet

A fluffy pastry in which the dough is hand-stretched and folded upon itself in thin layers, brushed with ghee and then baked. Feteer is used in both sweet and savoury dishes or with accompaniments like honey or salty cheese.

Fava beans (ful)

Fava beans or broadbeans are hugely popular in Egypt. This ancient staple is eaten for breakfast (Ful Medames) and split fava beans are used in Egypt’s version of the falafel called tameya.


Clarified butter. It’s lighter than butter and in Egypt, is used in all cooking from breakfast to dessert.


This Hibiscus tea is sought after for its medicinal properties. Drunk hot or cold, it is said to reduce high blood pressure and cool you down on a hot day in the desert.


An edible green plant with high nutritional value that gives its name to Egypt’s beloved molokhia soup. The leaves have a mucilaginous (thickening) quality that helps thicken the soup. While difficult to find fresh outside of the Middle East, it can be found frozen or dried.


As a welcome into any Egyptian home, guests are offered nuts. Almonds, peanuts, pistachio and hazelnuts are favourites. Nuts are also used ion top of rice, in Dukkah, and chopped and sprinkled on many desserts.

Okra (bamya)

Okra is the edible fruit pod of a plant related to the hibiscus. The mucilage which makes okra so sticky when cooked is the source of soluble dietary fibre. In Egypt, bamya is a vegetable widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat. (See recipe for Bamya.


Egg noodles. These are fried then cooked with stock and rice as an accompaniment to most Egyptian main meals.