Ah Egypt. I’d always dreamed of going there, since I was about 5. Their ancient changeable religions were so colourful, and their architecture is hilariously over the top, like a Disney movie. But seriously, it was something I admired. In 2010, I got my dream, a couple of weeks in Pharaoh-land. I got to climb down inside the great pyramid, and went inside the claustrophobia inducing tombs in the Valley of the Kings. I also had a penchant for licking artefacts that were thousands of years old.
One my first day in Cairo, my friend and I met a man named Ahmed, who was to be our tour guide. We’d arrived two days earlier so we could explore Cairo on our own, and he took it upon himself to help us around, and show us the best places to eat and shop. One night we even had dinner at his grandmother’s house, and met all his sisters. It was awesome! He has given me these recipes from his grandmother’s kitchen.
250 grams of minced lamb
250 grams of minced beef
½ onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspn dried mint
1 tblspn of honey
1 tblspn tomato paste
2 teaspn ground coriander
2 teaspn cumin
chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Egyptian Tahini Sauce:
½ cup tahini paste
1 teaspn cumin
1 tblspn grated onion
splash of lemon juice
splash of water
OK, this is just like making meatballs, except you form them on a bamboo skewer. Oh yeah, get some bamboo skewers and soak them in water while you prepare the meat. Or use stainless steel ones if you have them.
Basically, just mix all the ingredients together, form them on the skewers (with oiled hands) and then refrigerate them for an hour or so so that they hold their shape. You don’t need to use a BBQ to get the charcoal effect, that’s what the honey is for, it will make the meat char without drying it out.
I put mine under the grill, but if you have a big enough pan, by all means use the stovetop.
For the sauce, make sure everything is at room temperature – my first attempt all stuck together in a coffee coloured blob. Tasted good, but looked weird, and you had to spread it on the meat. Second time was much better.
Drizzle the sauce on the meat when it’s done, and eat with salad or rice!