What kinds of foods did the Egyptians eat

Cooking: Recipes from Ancient Egypt

What did the king eat for breakfast, what did his people fill their stomachs with? Archaeologists also deal with such questions. Here you will find the best recipes from the Nile

Wall paintings show, for example, what was harvested, hunted or offered in the market in ancient Egypt; Food was also common grave goods. After all, the soul of the dead should not go hungry on their journey to the afterlife.

Today we know, among other things, that grain played a major role - and everything that can be made from it: There were dozens of types of bread, cakes and other pastries. Beer was one of the most common drinks.

So far so good. It becomes difficult when it comes to how these dishes were prepared in detail: not a single ancient Egyptian recipe has come down to us. And what researchers find in the burial chambers is of course no longer entirely fresh.

So one can only guess how it was really cooked and seasoned back then. For example, by looking at what's on the table on the Nile today and drawing conclusions from it. For us, one of them is: The ancient Egyptians definitely had taste. We'll provide you with the proof on the following pages - click through and then off to the kitchen!

flatbread

There were dozens of types of bread! Triangular cakes were widespread, and remains of them have even been found - in graves that are more than 5000 years old. This bread was originally baked from ground emmer, a very old type of wheat.

For 8 pieces; Preparation time about 75 minutes

For a flatbread you need:

  • 300 g whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 200 ml of lukewarm water

This is how the flatbread is baked:

1. Mix flour, yeast and water in a bowl and knead a dough out of it - for a few minutes until it is really tough.

2. Roll out the dough into a large square. Take a knife or a pastry cutter and cut the square up and down once each. Then cut from corner to corner: There are now eight triangles in front of you.

3. Place the on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cover it with a tea towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

4. Push the tray - without the cloth, of course - into the oven preheated to 200 degrees for about 15 minutes until the triangles expand and turn brown at the corners.

Apricot and fig purée

All kinds of fruit thrived in the fertile Nile Delta. The Egyptians conjured up a wide variety of sweets from this. However, they could only spread this delicious mush on their bread when Egypt became part of the Roman Empire 2000 years ago: The new masters brought apricots and lemons into the country.

For 1 large glass; Preparation time about 30 minutes

For 1 glass of puree you need:

  • 100 g dried figs
  • 100 g of dried apricots
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 150 ml of water
  • half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1 tbsp chopped pine nuts
  • 30 g chopped walnuts

This is how the fig butter is made:

1. Remove the stalks from the figs and chop the fruit together with the apricots. Squeeze the lemon and boil its juice and sugar in 150 ml of water - until the sugar has completely dissolved.

2. Add the pieces of fruit and let it simmer. Stir again and again, otherwise the mixture will burn! After about 20 minutes, the mixture should have thickened in the pot. Now you add the aniseed and the chopped nuts and kernels.

3. If the pulp is too coarse for you, you can still process it with the hand blender. Then you can either spread the puree directly on the bread. Or you fill it in a clean and tightly sealable glass. It may not last for millennia like this - but at least a few weeks.

Hummus

Chickpeas were a staple food. For example, processed into this delicious puree, as it is still common today in Arabic cuisine. The Egyptians, however, had a proud name for the knobbly legumes: hawk faces.

Enough for 1 bowl; Preparation time about 20 minutes

You need these ingredients:

  • 200 g canned chickpeas
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp sesame paste ("Tahini" in Turkish grocery stores)
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper, salt, 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch of paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley

How we made hummus:

1. Open the can and pour a tablespoon of the liquid into a bowl. The chickpeas also go in there.

2. Squeeze the lemon and chop the garlic. You also put both in the bowl. Just like the sesame paste and the cayenne pepper.

3. Crush the ingredients with a hand blender until an even cream is formed. Taste this with salt - done! In a closed container, hummus will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. To serve the puree, spread it in a shallow bowl, chop the parsley and pour it over with olive oil and paprika powder.

Pot Bread

In many graves one has found representations of bread that were baked in molds made of clay over fire. That saves the stove. Since ovens are more likely to be found in today's kitchens than open fires, we have tried a modernized form of pot bread here.

For 3 loaves of bread; Preparation time about 75 minutes

You need for 3 breads:

  • 3 clean flower pots made of clay (diameter 12 cm)
  • 100 g clarified butter
  • 500 g whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 300 ml of milk

This is how you bake pot bread:

1. Put the flour, yeast, honey and milk in a bowl and knead them into a dough. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm place for a good half an hour so that the dough can rise.

2. In the meantime, rub the inner walls of the flower pots generously with lard and put them in the oven for a few minutes at 150 degrees. Take it out again, let it cool down - and repeat the step. Then you cover a baking sheet with baking paper, put the pots on it and put the whole thing back into the oven, but now at 200 degrees.

3. In the meantime, take the dough out of the bowl and form three balls of the same size from it. Now it has to be quick: Open the oven door, put a ball of dough in each pot and then turn the pots over. Caution: It is essential to use pot holders so that you don't burn your fingers!

4. After five minutes you turn off the oven, but leave the pots in the oven for another 20 minutes. Only then do you get them out. If the pots were well greased, the loaves should be easy to remove. Otherwise, you can help by loosening the edges with a knife.

Ta'amia

There were also beans of all kinds in abundance. Egyptian cooks conjured up a corresponding number of dishes from it. For example these baked balls. In Egypt they are called Ta'amia - this delicacy is better known as falafel.

For 10 balls you need Ta'amia:

  • 400 g canned fava beans
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, ½ bunch of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • possibly some flour

That's how it's done

Preparation time: 50 minutes

1. Chop parsley, onions and garlic and put them in a bowl along with cumin, coriander, baking powder, pepper and salt.

2. Open the can and pour its contents into a fine sieve. When the beans have drained well, they are added to the bowl with the other ingredients.

3. Chop the whole thing up with the hand blender and then let the porridge rest for half an hour.

4. Forms balls the size of table tennis balls from the mass. If the dough is still too runny, knead some flour into it, otherwise the balls will disintegrate.

5. Put plenty of oil in a pan, flatten the balls and bake them in hot oil until they are golden brown on the outside. They taste best hot - and refined with tarator sauce.

Tarator sauce

For 1 glass; Preparation time about 10 minutes

You need:

  • 100 g sesame paste (tahini)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • some water

That's how it's done:

1. Mash the clove of garlic with a fork or garlic press.

2. Squeeze the lemon, put its juice, garlic and all other ingredients in a bowl and stir it into a smooth cream. Danger: The lemon juice thickens the mass. If you want it creamier than shown here, add a spoonful of water.