Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mexican Food in Egypt

Asalamu Alaykom,

I love Thursdays!  T.G.I.T.  As a teacher, I can't tell you how much I need to chill out Thursday night.  In fact, I'm now reaching new heights of chill-o-matic by refusing to go downstairs for dinner.  No.  Thursday night dinner is upstairs in my loungewear and eating comfort food.

Last weekend it was pizza.

This weekend it was tostadas.

Here is my recipe for

Disclaimer:  Any resemblance to the above photo will be purely coincidental.  
Following this recipe does not actually mean you will end up with something good to eat.

Have your husband buy the following items at the market:

3  Tomatoes

3  Colorful peppers (being sure to tell him not to buy the spicey peppers)

1  Onion

1  Cucumber

1 Bunch of Parsley

Wash and core vegetables, place in blender because you're too lazy to mince by hand.  Pulse a few times.  Pour out the green slop into a dish and wish that it looked better.  Hope that your homemade "salsa" is edible.


Since there are no refried beans, open up the plastic bag of foul medamnes you asked your husband to buy from the man who comes by with the donkey cart.  Squeeze that into a bowl.  Wonder if it has any seasoning.  Taste test it and confirm beyond a doubt that it has no flavor.


The cumin powder you keep in the old jam jar

The unused package of chili powder from the Indome noodles your kid ate

Some pepper grindings

That old lemon hiding among the oranges


Cut the onion.  Consider cutting the peppers but stop to glorify in their beauty. Rationalize that you must cut it to eat it.  Fry up the onion and the peppers in the saucepan you had to still had to wash out from yesterday.

As that's frying...

Find the sliced olives at the back of the refrigerator and start putting together an attractive plate of toppings.

Slide the fried onions and peppers on to the sectional plate.

Take the chicken shwarma out of the freezer, and dump that into the saucepan.  Fry it up as you continue searching.

In leiu of sour cream...

Take out the plate of "salt milk" your husband bought for your cooking endeavor.  Think to yourself what exactly it is and then decide it doesn't matter because you're going to eat it anyway.  Place that bowl in the center of the sectional platter.

Dump the hot schwarma meat onto the platter as well.

Take the foul medamnes and put it into the pan.

While that's heating...

Search for the orange cheese you asked him to buy.  When you can't find it, grab three little cheese triangles and melt them in the beans.

Have your son bring out:

the big plastic tray

the glasses of half pinneapple and half water

the little bags of Doritos

Fight him on NOT eating the Doritos just yet.


Take the white-flour crispy bread rounds which are layered with broth and then baked at Eid Kabeer.  It's not a tortilla but it's close enough. Somehow your husband found some, even though he had assured you that they are only seasonal.  Thank God for a resourceful and faithful man.  Spread the hot bean and cheese mix on the rounds.

Fight your son again about waiting to eat the Doritos.

It's almost time to eat!

Have your husband ask you once again if you're REALLy eating upstairs (yes, you are) and get a bowl of rice from him.

Pop in a video.

Sit down and enjoy your Mexican meal in Egypt.


Umm Timo said...

HAHAHAHA I laughed so hard my kids looked at me like I was crazy! I thought I had it bad here in Bahrain...

Cant you get those items from Carrefour? Like refried beans, tortillas etc? I make my own tortillas cause they are too old and expensive here. I do miss some tex mex but I really miss greasy Chinese food from the grubby place down the street from me in America.

I can not find fake american Chinese food here to save my life! At least I have good Lebanese food here.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom UmmTimo,

I'm glad you got it and really glad you laughed. I wrote this after fajr this morning and then wondered if I was too "out in left field" for anyone else to understand where I'm coming from.

We do go to Carrefour (the big box equivalent of Walmart/Target here). However, I'm a village gal...even though I live in the city. We barely get to a supermarket. Most of our food is purchased locally--as in within walking distance. More often than not, it's the food sellers, not us, who are doing the walking as they pull around their carts through our narrow streets.

We don't have a car. The nearest supermarket to us is Metro and it's not got everything. You should have seen me the day they had a package of Colby from Wisconsin! When they do have something EXACTLY like back home it's expensive; like the 35 LE box of Rice Krispies.

And then there's ME...I'm a problem. I "make do" with too little and not the right stuff since I've been living that way all my life. I make enough money now to splurge but I often don't. It feels wrong. It feels wrong to eat the food like that---especially the gazpacho-like salsa. Between the two, I go with the less money spent and less culinary enjoyment.

We have gone to Chili's three times in the last year. It is a long way to go and it's expensive but it's nice to remember Tex-Mex as God meant it to be.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Love and Light to you in Bahrain!

Bonnie said...

What is salt milk? I asked my husband and he shrugged. It's hard to make mexican food here as well, 80 percent of the maize here is GMO is no more nachos for me unless I get to go to the organic shop which is nowhere near here :(

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Bonnie,

Good to read your update in South Africa. My boss is from South Africa and I'm gaining a lot of respect for the people based on him.

I asked my hub about salt milk. In Arabic it's a direct translation: laben mal. It tastes like salty sour cream. My hub also said that not everyone in Egypt eats it. Our village next to the pyramids eats like the country people not the city people.

You made me smile with your concerns over food safety. Ahhh those were the days. Now I just eat what is put in front of me and leave it up to God. I simply can't control the food situation and stay sane. Inshahallah it's not killing me too quickly.

Love and light to you and yours!