Category Archives: Savory

Spicy Pinto Bean Soup

Are you trying to lose weight?  Maybe you’re just trying to not gain any more!  Well, we have been trying to maintain a healthy weight for a while.  One of the tricks we use is to look for highly nutritious, but low calorie food.  Beans and vegetables are the perfect for for this!!!
The base of this soup is the pinto bean.  The pinto bean is mostly known in North American and is very common in Mexican food.  If you go to a Mexican restaurant, you will probably eat these mashed or refried or in a burrito.  I love pinto beans!  Unfortunately, I have never found dried pinto beans in Egypt, so we always use them from a can.
This soup is kind of spicy, so adjust as you need!
Serves about 5Ingredients:
1 can pinto beans (about 500 g)
4 small to medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion
1 vegetable bouillon cube, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, (hot green peppers) diced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
water to cover (about 500 ml)Instructions:
1.  Place everything in a large pot.
2.  Add enough water to cover the beans and vegetables.
3.  Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
4.  Check frequently and add more water if necessary.

Add an extra jalapeño pepper for more ZING!
Serving Suggestions and Variations:
  • Serve with cornbread, balady bread, or any grain.
  • Guacamole might even go well with this spicy soup!

Nutritional Information (1 serving of 5):
116 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 22 g Carbohydrates; 6 g Fiber; 6 g Protein

What’s YOUR favorite bean?!
Alf Hana!!!

Chickpea and Corn Curry

Packed with protein and fiber, chickpeas are one of my favorite snacks.  I like them on salads, in hummus, mashed and used for a burger (recipe coming soon!), and in curries!  Not only are they quite nutritious, they are also considerably filling!  Get a full tummy with less calories!

Serves 6


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cube of vegetable bouillon, crumbled
  • 500 ml of water
  • 325 g of chickpeas (from a can – or soak overnight and cook about 2 hours)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 432 g of sweet corn (about 1 can)
  • 6 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1.  Sautee the onion and the garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2.  Add the bouillon cube, curry powder, coriander, turmeric, and cumin and stir well.  Cook about 5 more minutes.
3.  Add the water, chickpeas, sweet corn and tomato, mixing all the ingredients together.
4.  Cover and let simmer for around 30 minutes.
We love to serve it with bulghur, but you can have it with whatever you like….
Serving Variations and Suggestions:
  • Serve with bread, rice, or other grain.  We had it with bulghur.
Nutritional Information: (for 1 of 6 servings)
202 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 34 g Carbohydrates; 6 g Fiber; 6 g Protein
(23% of your daily need for Vitamin A, 46% of your daily need for Vitamin C,  5% of daily need for calcium AND 13% of your daily need for IRON!!!  Woohoo!!!)
What’s YOUR favorite way to eat chickpeas?
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!!!

Tuesday Teaser #8: A German-Inspired Vegan Treat

Recently we traveled to Germany for a short vacation.  While we were there, we discovered a number of delicious completely vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants.

For example, here is a meal we had a Culux, a famous traditional wurst (sausage) restaurant.

As you can see, it was a tofu-based sausage with sauerkraut, salad and curry sauce.  We also had a delicious potato salad on the side (that I neglected to photograph! 😦 )

Anyway, we decided  to try to recreate this tasty meal here in Egypt.  By chance, we found canned sauerkraut at Royal House!!!  And, of course, we have our soy sausages from AHEF.  All that was left was the salad (EASY!) and the potato salad.  Well, after a quick search, we found a recipe for traditional German potato salad at VegWeb.  In fact, the author claims that this recipe is originally from Bavaria, which is where we visited!  Find the original recipe here or use or adapted version below:

Ingredients: (Serves around 10)

  • 1 kilo potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vegetable bullion cube
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 thinly sliced peeled cucumber


  • 1. Boil the potatoes for 30 minutes and then rinse under cold water and drain.
  • 2.  Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them.
  • 3.  Gently chop.
  • 4.  Put into a big salad bowl.
  • 5.  In another bowl, whisk together your bouillon, garlic, vinegar, mustard, vegan sugar, pepper, salt, oil and chopped onion, and then carefully stir into the potatoes.
  • 6.  Gently stir in the cucumber and then refrigerate overnight.

Nutritional information: (1 of 10 servings)

127 Calories; 3 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 23 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Fiber; 2 g Protein

So here’s our German-inspired Vegan Treats!:

What ethnic foods do you like?  Have you tried to make any vegan versions of them?

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!!!

Spicy Traditional Style Chili with Beans

If you like chili, you will love this recipe!  It’s such a tasty way to get loads of protein.  We especially like it on a cold day.

2 cups TVP
6 cups water, divided
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
5 tomatoes, fresh
1 package of tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
Serves 6-8.
Prepare the TVP:
1.  Heat 2 cups of water and the bouillon cube until the cube dissolves.
2.  Pour the bouillon mixture over the TVP.  Leave it to rehydrate about 15 minutes.
Prepare the chili:
3.  Cook the onion, garlic and green pepper in the olive oil until the onion becomes transparent.

4.  Add the rehydrated TVP and soy sauce.  Cook until the mix is well browned.

5.  Transfer this to a large pot.
6.  Add the chili powder, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 cups of water, cumin, marjoram, thyme and beans.  Mix well.
7.  Cover and cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
1.  Serve with garlic bread, corn bread, or pita bread.
2.  Serve on a baked potato.
3.  Experiment with different kinds of beans – black beans, chick peas, white beans, adzuki beans.
Nutritional Information:
193 Calories, 0 g Cholesterol, 3 g Fat, 26 g Carbohydrates, 9 g Fiber, 18 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!