Hawawshi and Other Egyptian-Inspired Dishes #SundayFunday
This week Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting the Sunday Funday group for a virtual jaunt to Egypt. Wendy was lucky enough to recently vacation in Egypt. The rest of us are traveling by tabletop!
Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. I was very inspired by Wendy's prompt. Here's the line-up of Egyptian recipes...
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Salata Baladi
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Egyptian Borek (Cheese Filled Hand Pies)
Culinary Cam: Hawawshi and Other Egyptian-Inspired Dishes (you're here)
Karen's Kitchen Stories: Egyptian Sweet Rolls
Mayuri's Jikoni: Egyptian Cookies
Palatable Pastime: Baked Chicken with Baharat
Pandemonium Noshery: Molokhia
Sneha’s Recipe: Mahalabia
I had initially planned to share a recipe with dukkah because it's one of my favorite spice blends and hails from Egypt. But I had some ground beef I needed to use and went in search of an Egyptian recipe to use that. I landed on Hawawshi, a popular Egyptian street food. I'll have to ask Wendy if they had anything like this. Hawawshi is essentially crispy pita bread stuffed with kofta-like mixture, named after its creator, Ahmed al-Hawawshi, a butcher in Cairo. al-Hawawshi created the dish in the 1970s and would sell them in the streets around his butcher shop.
1 pound ground beef
1 Tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
pita breads, sliced in half (use store-bought or make your own pita bread)
olive oil for brushing before baking
4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
water, as needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Knead until all the herbs and spices are evenly distributed. Slice pita breads in half and fill them with the spiced meat. Flatten the pitas so they are more like a stuffed-bread than burger-shape in a pita, if that makes sense!
Place the hawawshi on a baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the hawawshi and return them to the oven to another 5 to 7 minutes. The meat should be fully-cooked and the pita breads toasted and crispy. Serve with tahini sauce on the side.
In a mixing bowl, blend the garlic and lemon juice. Let stand for ten minutes for the flavors to meld together. Strain out the garlic, pressing the solids against a wire mesh to extract as much flavor as you can. Return the oil to the mixing bowl and add in the tahini, salt, and cumin .Mix until well-blended. Add water one Tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you like. For drizzling over salad, I prefer it more watery; for serving with hawashi, I wanted to be able to spoon it into the pita.
I will definitely be making this when the boys come home for the holidays. I think it will be appreciated by everyone!
Other Egyptian-Inspired Dishes
To round out our meal, I offered an array of Egyptian mezze dishes.
Stuffed grape leaves are ubiquitous all around the Mediterranean; in Egypt they are called dolma mahshi. I stuffed these with rice, cooked lentils, and some mashed chestnuts which are definitely not traditional but were delicious!
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup caramelized onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cooked chestnuts, peeled, roasted, and slightly smashed
freshly ground salt and pepper
handful of fresh parsley, roughly-chopped
2 to 3 organic lemon, thinly sliced (I used Meyer lemons)
2 Tablespoons liquid (use wine, veggie broth, or water)
Also needed: grape leaves (I buy them in a jar at Whole Foods)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, lentils, caramelized onions, and chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh parsley.
Place a tablespoon of your filling in the center of a grape leaf. Keeping constant pressure, roll the grape leaf into a packet. Because my grape leaves were so small, I used two for each roll.
Arrange the rolls in a baking dish. Lay slices of lemon over the top. Fill your pan with water so that the water comes to the top of the rolls. Add a splash of olive oil and your wine or liqueur. Lay grape leaves over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, until the liquid is completely absorbed and the rolls are soft.
I also served a few salads that may or may not be authentically Egyptian, hence the Egyptian-inspired label. But they did go well with my Hawawshi.
1/4 cup bulgur wheat
4 firm medium tomatoes
one bunch organic parsley
1/3 cup fresh organic mint leaves
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place bulgur wheat in a small mixing bowl. Cover the grains completely with boiling water, cover, and let stand until it doubles in size and absorbs all of the water, approximately 20 minutes.
While the bulgur soaks, finely chop the tomatoes, onions, parsley, and mint. Place those all in a mixing bowl and add in juice from the lemon and the olive oil. Stir to combine. Fold in the grain and adjust seasoning and dressing to taste. Toss the salad with a fork to fluff up the grains.
That's a wrap for my offering for the Egypt #SundayFunday event. Next week Sneha has us creating recipes to help clean out the fridge. Stay tuned!