Category Archives: Pharaoh’s Friday

Pharaoh’s Friday #16: Holiday Feasting Egyptian Style and Vegan!

Fridays are “Pharaoh’s Fridays“!  We like to take traditional, Egyptian recipes and adapt them so they are entirely plant-based!

Today is the last Friday of Ramadan.  Next week, many Egyptians will be celebrating the end of the holy month.  Family and friends will have special meals together, just as they do in any other culture, no matter what religion.  Eating brings us together.

One of the things we like to do at Alf Hana is make it possible for Egyptians interested in eating plant-based foods to still be able to enjoy their traditional favorites and comfort foods.  So, we have, over these last 10 months, posted many of our plant-based versions of Egyptian favorites.  Today, we’ve gathered them into one post so you can easily access them as you plan your holiday menus!


Main Dishes:
Of course, you will find many other NON-traditional items on Alf Hana.  Feel free to search for your favorites!
Whether you are celebrating next week or not, we hope you enjoy or vegan versions of Egyptian favorites!  For our Muslim readers, we wish you all a happy holiday!!!
What’s your favorite food to eat during the holidays?
Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #15: Traditional Egyptian Fruit Compote (Khoushaf)

Fridays are “Pharaoh’s Fridays“!  We like to take traditional, Egyptian recipes and adapt them so they are entirely plant-based!

This traditional Egyptian dish is already full of whole foods!  Sweet treats in their natural form!  We usually get to have it during Ramadan when our Muslim friends invite us for ‘iftar’.  Thanks to Maha for this recipe!

Click here for the printer-friendly version.

Serves 6
1 liter water
7 dried figs, chopped into quarters

½ cup dried apricot
½ cup dried prunes
½ cup raisins or sultanas
½ cup almonds
1.  Boil the water.
2.  Add the figs to the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
3.  Add the apricot and boil for another 5 minutes.
4.  Add the prunes and raisins or sultanas and boil for about 3 minutes.
5.  Remove from the heat and add the almonds.
6.  Let sit for about 1 hour.
7.  Refrigerate.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Serve cold.
  • Add dates or other dried fruits.
  • Use different nuts. Some people like pine nuts.
  • Top with coconut?
  • Some people add sugar and lime juice to the water as it boils.

Nutrition Information: 1 of 6 servings
195 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 35 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Fiber; 4 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #13: Pureed Potatoes with Black Beans

Fridays are “Pharaoh’s Fridays“!  We like to take traditional, Egyptian recipes and adapt them so they are entirely plant-based!
This recipe will satisfy your craving for a hearty, nutritious meal.  It’s relatively low in calories, low in fat, and will fill you up!  It’s a perfect treat if you’re trying to lose weight!
Serves 6
(for the potatoes)
1 kilo potatoes
2 tablespoons water
1 cup soy milk
4 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper(for the black bean mix)
250 grams black beans, canned or soaked and boiled (about 1 and ½ cups)
125 grams mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tablespoon chili powder(on top)
1 tablespoon fine breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Prepare the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, or 400º F or 200º C (moderately hot).
1.  In a large pot, boil the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes).

Prepare the black bean mix:
2.  While the potatoes are boiling, heat the onion and garlic in the 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 2 minutes.
3.  Add the mushrooms, bouillon cube, and chili powder. Cook for another 4 minutes or so until the mushrooms have released their water.
4.  Add the tomatoes, beans, and tomato paste.  Cook for another 5 minutes.

5.  Once the potatoes have finished boiling, place the potatoes in a colander, but reserve the water they cooked in.  You can peel them if you like or leave the skin on for the extra nutrients (of course, you should invest in organic if you choose this option…).  Mash them with a potato masher or fork.
6.  Place the potatoes back in the empty large pot.  Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water from the potatoes, soy milk, cornstarch mix, salt and pepper and mix well until creamy.
7.  Using a little bit of oil, grease a casserole dish (9-by-13-inches or 22-by-33-centimeter).  Spread half the mashed potatoes in the dish.
8.  Spread the black bean mix on the first layer of potatoes and then cover with the second half of the potatoes.
9.  Sprinkle the tablespoon of breadcrumbs all over the top of the potatoes and then sprinkle the oil on top.
10.  Bake for 30 minutes until the top turns brown.
Nutritional Information:
324 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 60 g Carbohydrates; 9 g Fiber; 10 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Pharaoh’s Friday #12: Meatless Eggplant and Cream Pie (Moussaka)

Okay, this variation of moussaka (or eggplant [aubergine] casserole) originates in Greece, but many Egyptians do eat their eggplant casserole like this.  This was a very satisfying casserole that will remind you of the non-vegan version immediately.
[veganized from The Complete Middle East Cookbook, by Tess Mallos]
Serves 6
500 g eggplant, with skin, sliced (1 medium-sized eggplant)
oil for brushing

Meat Sauce:
3 cups TVP
3 cups water
2 bouillon cubes

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon water
½ cup tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or ½ tablespoon of dried)
½ teaspoon sugar
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons corn oil
2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon flour
1 cup of non-dairy milk (we used soymilk)
1/16 teaspoon of nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste

Prepare the eggplant.
1.  Cut eggplant into slices (leave the skin on).  Sprinkle with salt and leave sit for about an hour.  Pat dry.


After an hour

2.  Brush a cookie or baking sheet with oil and layer the eggplant slices on the baking sheet.  Brush the tops of the slices with oil as well.  Bake in the oven at gas mark 5 (375 degrees F or 190 degrees C) for about 5 minutes.
3.  Once the eggplant slices are browned on the one side, turn them, brush with oil and brown the other side for another 5 minutes.

Browned eggplant

Prepare the meat sauce.
4.  Put the TVP in a large bowl.  Set aside.
5.  In a medium sauce pan, heat the 3 cups of water and the 2 bouillon cubes.  Once they have boiled and become broth, pour over the 3 cups of TVP and let sit for about 15 minutes until the TVP has absorbed the broth.
6.  In a large sauce pan, heat the one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of water and add the onion and garlic.  Fry until lightly browned.
7.  Add the reconstituted TVP and the tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, parsley, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper.  Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.

Meatless Meat sauce

Prepare the cream sauce:
8.  Heat the corn oil in a small pan and add the flour.  Cook for about 2 minutes until bubbling.
9.  Add the nondairy milk.  Stir constantly and let the sauce boil for about 1 minute.
10.  Remove the cream sauce from the heat and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare the moussaka:
11.  In a 9 x 9 inch (23 cm x 23 cm) casserole dish, brush a bit of oil and then arrange a layer of eggplant slices on the bottom (try to use about ⅓ of the slices).  Top this layer with half of the meat sauce.  Add another layer of eggplant, top with the rest of the meat sauce, and then finish with the final third of the sliced eggplant.

First layer of eggplant

The layered moussaka before the cream

12.  Pour the cream sauce over the top of the meat pie.  Bake in the oven at gas mark 4 (180 degrees C or 350 degrees F).  Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
It’s important to wait before cutting.
Otherwise, your pieces may fall apart.

Nutritional Information: 1 of 6 pieces
326 Calories; 12g Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 29g Carbohydrates; 12g Fiber; 25g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #11: Hummus

It’s about time, right?  I mean, how could we have been operating this blog for 9 months and not gotten around to posting such a basic, Middle-Eastern favorite?  Well, here it is in all its tasty, simple glory:

Makes about 1 cup
½ cup canned or cooked chickpeas

2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons water


Prepare the spice mix.
1.  Crush the garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper using a mortar and pestle.
2.  Add the tahini and the spice mix in a small mixing bowl.
3.  Add the lime / lemon juice and the vinegar and mix well.  The mix should turn a pale color.
4.  Add the water.

Mix the chickpeas and spice mix.
5.  In a food processor, process the chickpeas with the spice mix until very smooth.

Store in an airtight container.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
1.  Serve with pita or baladi bread as an appetizer.
2.  Serve with tamaya or foul.
3.  Serve as a dip for vegetables.
4.  Add a few whole chickpeas on top as a garnish.

Nutritional Information: (1 of 4 servings)
143 Calories; 10 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 12 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Fiber; 5 g Protein

How do you like to eat chickpeas?  Are there other Middle Eastern  appetizers / salads that you like?

Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #9: Eggplant Salad (Babaganoug)

Even if you don’t like eggplants very much, you will love this creamy, tangy, eggplant salad.  My favorite way to eat this is on tameya (or falafel), but you can eat it on crackers, bread or with chopped up veggies!  YUMMMMYYY!!!

Makes about 1 cup

250 grams eggplant (about 2 medium eggplants)

1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
½ tablespoon lemon or lime juice
½ tablespoon vinegar
½ tablespoon water


Prepare the eggplant.

1.  Wash the eggplant.  Boil it whole for about 30 minutes, or until very soft when a fork is inserted.

2.  Cool.
Prepare the spice mix.

3.  Crush the garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper using a mortar and pestle.

4.  Add the tahini and the spice mix in a small mixing bowl.

5.  Add the lime / lemon juice and the vinegar and mix well.  The mix should turn a pale color.
6.  Add the water.

Mix the eggplant and spice mix.

7.  After the eggplant has cooled, using a spoon, gently spoon out the insides of the eggplant, discarding the skin.

8.  Mash the eggplant with a fork.

9.  Mix the eggplant with the spice mix.

Store in an airtight container.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
1.  Serve with pita or baladi bread as an appetizer.
2.  Serve with tameya or beans.
3.  Serve as a dip for vegetables.

Pharaoh’s Friday #8: Beetroot Salad – Egyptian Style

Honestly, I have never been a big fan of beets.  But now, I understand that sometimes when you eat something prepared in a certain way, you might develop a bad impression of that thing and shun it unfairly!  Yes, if you try it again, cooked in a different style, with different spices you may actually like it!  AND as we go through life, our tastes also change and develop, so you may find yourself really enjoying a food you disliked only a few years ago.

And so it is with me and beets.  But now, I have discovered not one but several ways I really enjoy eating them!  Here’s one….Egyptian style!

250 grams of beets, raw (about 3 small beets)
water for boiling
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon lime (or lemon) juice
½ teaspoon corn oil
½ tablespoon vinegar

Serves 2
Prepare the beets
1.  Wash the beets.  Boil (with their skins still intact) in a large pot for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  When a fork slides in and out easily, they are ready.

After boiling

2.  Let the beets cool and then gently peel away the skins.

The peeling process

3.  Chop the beets into cubes and put in a medium bowl.

Vegetables that are dark in color are high in antioxidants and help prevent disease!

4.  Add the parsley, salt, pepper, lime juice, corn oil, and vinegar.  Mix well.
5.  Cool in the refrigerator for a while (the longer you leave them, the more the flavors will combine).

Serve cold.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

There are many variations for this recipe.  One of our readers suggested adding mustard and scallions!  Doesn’t that sound amazing?!
Nutritional information:
70 calories; 1 g fat; 0 g cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 2 g protein

Alf Hana!!!