We probably all remember our parents at one stage or other telling us to eat our green vegetables! Now broccoli and brussel sprouts (especially cooked until they are soft and mushy) do not usually get those gastric juices going!
But come to Egypt and experience a wide range of what is called “green vegetables”. But they are rather more leafy than one might expect….
- coriander (cilantro)
- various lettuces
Now Egyptian local salads (balady) are delicious and fresh. The ingredients are:
- green pepper (if available)
all chopped very, very small.
Salad dressing will usually be: lemon, salt and pepper, olive oil. The cilantro brings a fresh, unique and delicious taste. If you don’t like it, the local salads will not be your favourite!!
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Daily, in any of the local street fresh produce markets, you will find huge bunches of these freshly picked leafy greens. They have usually been picked fresh from the farms, and brought in on the back of a bicycle, almost luminous green with all the goodness packed into them.
Almost every person in the market will buy an assortment of these green leafy veggies. They go into salads, mixed into the falafel batter, added to the local meat pies, accompaniment for fish dishes, and of course into every salad. The cost is very low, and you have a hard time asking for one small bunch of anything! You will usually get given at least 2 or 3 bunches to get you started.
A SIMPLE LUNCH
Often during the day, you might see a man carrying about 10 round flat “shammy” breads, a small packet of brown “fuul” beans, and falafel or 2, a few tomatoes and then a nice healthy, shiny green bunch of leafy greens: a simple, quick but surprisingly tasty and healthy lunch. Wash it down with a glass of mint tea and you will be replete.
NEVER EAT SALADS!
Many travelers are afraid to eat fresh leafy greens and many guide books and travel clinics warn against it. We have found that if you select your restaurant or little shop carefully you should be fine. But if you are worried, don’t miss out on these delicious salads! Go out and buy a variety of them, take them home and wash them carefully yourself!
Then taste and see that these greens are good, very good!