Tag Archives: Egypt

30-Day Vegan Challenge: A Complete Tool for the Curious


Dear readers,

We know many of you are not vegan.  Maybe you are interested in trying out plant-based recipes every now and then, you may practice abstention from animal products during a religious fast, or you may be trying to eat healthier foods.  Do you think you could try a vegan diet for 30 days?

Our dear friend, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, has just released her new book, the 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  
After so many years of being vegan, using available materials to help support a plant-based diet, I can say I have never seen a more comprehensive book for people interested in making the transition.  The 30-Day Vegan Challenge covers every aspect of the vegan experience.  Any question you may have is addressed here.  (If you have ever thought you couldn’t be vegan because you’d miss cheese, there’s a chapter for you!)

Not only does Colleen cover these issues, she also provides essential information about nutrition (reviewed by dietitians), menus for the entire 30-Days, and recipes that are tried and true.  We know because we’ve been using these recipes for years now!!!

Colleen starts out by encouraging you to do a bit of preparation – get a buddy (this is important!), take some measurements (some of the changes you will experience can be measured!), and take a 3-Day food diary before you start (to see what you really normally eat).  Then, each of the 30-Days has a chapter full of specific, detailed, researched information about an issue surrounding veganism.  Some of these include: Eating healthfully and affordably (Day 2), Eating out and speaking up (Day 8), Discovering that there is life after cheese (Day 12), Putting to rest the great protein myth (Day 15), Celebrating the holidays (Day 25), Achieving and sustaining weight loss (Day 28)…..

Colleen ends with the menus, full of favorite recipes from her cookbooks and ideas for easy, simple meals.

This book is now available electronically – yes even in Egypt.  You can purchase it through Amazon and read it on a Kindle reader (either on your computer, your iPhone, iPad, etc.).  For more about this, read this post. (***Not all publishers allow their books to be downloaded in Egypt, but the 30-Day Vegan Challenge is available, so click away!)

If you are interested in checking out other works by Colleen we would suggest her podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought (it’s free!!! and can be downloaded to your computer or any other mobile device).  Of course, you might also find her other books useful:

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Black Forest Bars


What do you do with your bowl of cherries?

Yes, cherries are in season in Egypt and we have been having lots of fun finding way to make special treats with our cherries!

Here’s a cherry recipe that features that most amazing combination: cherries and chocolate!  Who could resist?

Makes 30 bars. Download a print-friendly version here.
Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons of oil
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons of water
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
½ – 1 cup of nondairy dark chocolate chunks or chipsInstructions:
1.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
2.  Beat applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl.  Add the cornstarch and beat.
3.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and cherries.
4.  Spread into a large cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.


5.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm.  Let stand for 2 minutes.
6.  Remove and cool completely on wire racks. Cut into squares.
Nutrition Information:
118 Calories; 3 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 23 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 1 g Protein

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
Ingredients:
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
Instructions:
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!!!

Enjoy plant-based versions of your favorite foods during Ramadan


Happy Ramadan to all our Muslim friends who are celebrating.  It’s always a special time of year for everyone.  A month full of reflection on one’s blessings, generosity to those less fortunate, and lots of delicious fast-breaking feasts with friends.

Having spend fourteen Ramadans in Egypt, we know there are a lot of traditional foods shared over iftar tables.  You may think that trying to start or continue a plant-based diet during Ramadan is impossible.  But at Alf Hana, we have a collection of your favorites adapted to be plant-based, healthy, and delicious!

Here is a list of the top ten traditional Egyptian / Middle Eastern recipes featured here on Alf Hana.  These are listed in order of the most viewed posts on the site.  Feel free to search for any not listed here – or send us an email and ask for your favorite!!!

Have a wonderful holiday and Alf Hana!!!

Looking for vegetarian and vegan goodies in Egypt? Try Health Harvest.


We are always happy to find places to buy vegetarian and vegan goodies in Egypt. Don’t misunderstand:  You can find vegetarian and vegan goodies at ANY shop!!! If you make the focus of your diet whole foods it won’t be hard for you to find treasures in every grocery shop, small market and even vegetable vendor.  😉

However, there are certain ingredients that are just not readily available.  While we may not use them often and they may not be absolutely necessary for our survival, some of these ingredients make it possible for us to have compassionate versions of familiar treats,  add nutrition and flavor to our soups and dishes or just try new things.

We discovered a new shop in Egypt, Health Harvest, that carries some of these rare ingredients!  – Okay, it’s not new – it’s been here for about six years or so, but it’s new to us!!!!  With three locations across Egypt, Health Harvest carries a number of products you might be interested in.  Among the items we found are:

These seeds will be great on salads!!!

Sunflower Seeds

Miso adds wonderful flavor to soups and sauces.  It’s basically fermented soy beans.  We have not found miso anywhere else in Egypt.

Miso

Agar agar flakes are made from sea plants.  You can also buy them in powder form (we did not see them at Health Harvest, though).  They serve as a vegetarian gelatin and are wonderful for making puddings or CHEESE (recipe coming soon)!!

Agar agar flakes

We don’t really buy mixes usually.  We love to cook everything from scratch because it’s cheaper and we can be absolutely certain what ingredients are included in the mix.  However, we found a number of gluten-free mixes available and decided to try them out.  They have a variety including:

There were MANY kinds of beans available for sale – even black soy beans!!!  But we bought these little lima beans.  Aren’t they cute?  They’ll be really tasty in a minestrone (recipe here!).

There are even some safer, compassionate beauty products on sale including this deodorant that is free from aluminum!!!

If you are interested in visiting Health Harvest here’s their contact information:

  • 00237483851- Mohadessen
  • 0126007879- Nasr City
  • 002035231001 ext: 1085- Alexandria
  • General Manager-0020145253777
  • healthharvest[at]hotmail.com
  • Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Health-Harvest/173199636066856?sk=info
  • Their website: http://kushicenter.com/index.php
Do you know of other shops specializing in specific vegetarian or vegan products?  Tell us about them!!!
Alf Hana!!!

5 Easy to find, Nutritious, Quick, Vegan Snacks in Cairo, Egypt


How’s that for a post title?!  This post was actually inspired by a recent post on One green planet about vegan snacks that are available on the market.  But, unfortunately, none of them can be found in Egypt!!!  So, we humbly present the first in a series of posts about vegan snacks that you can find in Egypt.

Later we’ll write about snacks that you can make at home, but for now, these are snacks available in shops or from street vendors.  We have tried to choose snacks that are as close to their whole state, retaining as much of their nutrition as possible.

1.  SEEDS (or ‘lib’)

Brown Egyptian seeds (watermelon seeds)

These beautiful babies can be found in almost any nut vendor’s shop in Cairo.  Egyptians love to eat them by cracking the shell open with their teeth and pulling the seed itself out with their tongue.  It’s kind of a complicated technique and you might have to be a real Egyptian to eat them properly 🙂 .   There are two common varieties : larger white seeds (what my research says are pumpkin seeds), and smaller brown seeds (which are watermelon seeds).  Both are easy to find, relatively inexpensive, fun to eat, and full of nutrients.

White Egyptian seeds (pumpkin seeds)

For the watermelon seeds, 1 cup of seeds will give you a whopping 602 calories – so go SLOW!!!!  But, it also provides 31 g of protein, 44 % of your daily recommended intake of iron, and is a good source of phosphorous, zinc, manganese, and magnesium!

As for the pumpkin seeds, they are only 285 calories for a whole cup.  With 12 g of protein, a cup of these cuties provides 12 % of your daily intake of iron, and a good helping of magnesium and zinc.

For the record, I love the white ones most – I guess because they’re larger and easier to manipulate!!!  But, if you’re in the mood for a challenge, try the brown ones!!!  Oh, and if you’re watching your weight, just take no more than two tablespoons because these are high in fat! [images from http://www.taw9eel.com/]

2.  Termis

Termis, also known as lupin or lupin beans, is another type of seed very common in Egypt.  You can buy them in their dried state in any small grocery.  Find the already-prepared version (soaked, cooked, seasoned with salt, lemon, red pepper!!!) in larger markets.  It is especially popular in the spring during the Sham El Nessim holiday, but you can find the prepared version year-round.   Eat the yellow lupin seed with the skin, if you like, but I like to bite about half-way down and remove the skin before I eat it.

And here’s the nutritional info on the yellow lupin:

Yellow lupin seeds

1 cup will provide you will only 193 calories and – hold on to your hats! – 26 grams of protein!!!  That’s right, folks – here’s a high protein, low-calorie food you can snack on without a guilty conscience!  But wait, you also get 5 g of fiber and 8% of your daily recommended intake of calcium from these plump yellow cuties.  In fact, our source for this nutrient information, nutritiondata.com lists them as being a good snack if you want to lose weight!  So dig in!!! [image from el-baraka.net]

3. Dried Figs

A favorite especially around Ramadan, these nutritious and naturally sweet goodies are also easy to find.  In small groceries or larger supermarkets, they are commonly sold in 250 gram packets or in air-tight circular packages.  Their very sweet taste will satisfy even the most troublesome sweet tooth – while you get some nutritional value!  Eat them right out of the bag – or soak them in some water for a softer treat!

As for their nutritional punch, here’s the low-down:

For 1 cup, you get 371 calories, 15 g of fiber (!), and 5 g of protein.  Not to mention 24% of your daily recommended intake of calcium and 17 % of your need for iron!!! [image from all-creatures.org]

4.  Grilled Corn on the Cob (especially in the summer!)

Can you smell it?  Yes, the man with the cart on the corner has a grill and is smoking up some corn!!!  MMMMMMM!!!  Usually grilled in its husk, it can obtain a smoky taste, but if you like corn, you’ll love this!

This snack is quite nutritious, with one large ear providing 123 calories, 4 g of fiber, and 5 grams of protein!  With 16% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C covered, you’ll be protecting yourself from illness with just one ear!  It’s also a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorous.  [image from wikitravel.org]

5.  And now, the best for last: Dried dates stuffed with nuts

We actually already wrote about this in a post during the Vegan MoFo last November. You can find these in most small groceries and larger supermarkets.  In fact, you can even find them organic!  Try Isis Sekem.  I love these little jewels. They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory.  You can find many variations – including dates stuffed with almonds, peanuts, and I have even seen cashews!

Our dried dates with peanuts are not too bad on the nutritional scale.  For one ounce (about 28 grams) – which I’m thinking would be around 3 of these babies – you get about 140 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and about 4 % of your daily need for calcium.  Not bad!

What other vegan snacks do you readily find in Cairo?  Please share!

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

Directions:

  • 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!!!