Every time I randomly bump into my cousin R and he is with somebody I haven't met, he points to me and laughs, exclaiming "We're cousins! Can't you tell?". This leads to much confusion. See, R looks Egyptian. I, on the other hand, do not. It's an ongoing joke really, and watching people react to the information is priceless.
I may not seem Egyptian, but a few of my eating habits say otherwise. Cumin is my go-to spice when I'm cooking, or even when I just eat a fresh tomato. Fava beans are comfort food and they are also breakfast, served with eggs. I love nigella seeds, which are not to be confused with black sesame. I like to eat desserts that are soaked in syrup, especially syrup flavored with rose water. OK fine, most of these are common to many countries in that area, but point is, I'm clearly not from, say, Texas.
My latest "Egyptian" habit is Turkish coffee and it's one that I won't be giving up any time soon.
Turkish coffee has changed my life forever. It's made from Arabica beans that are super finely ground. Some also grind in cardamom, which makes Turkish coffee even better in my opinion. In Egypt, the foam on the coffee is called the "wish" (i.e. face) and it is good luck, so making Turkish coffee in the kanaka (a stovetop coffee pot) is ideal because it's really the only way to get that foam. The kanaka is the traditinal method for brewing on the stove, but my aunt taught me that now it is quite common to make it "instant", just by stirring the coffee grinds with boiling water directly in your coffee cup.
However you choose to make it, Turkish coffee is delightful. It is sweet, slightly floral from the cardamom, and not at all bitter so you can enjoy it hot, without milk, and even without any sugar.
Turkish coffeePublished: May 2nd, 2013, Cook time: up to 10 minutes
Makes 1 cup
- 1–2 tsp finely ground Turkish coffee (a mixture of Arabica and some cardamom)
- 1–2 tsp granulated sugar (optional)
The "instant" way:
- Place coffee grinds and sugar (if using) in a small coffee cup. Top with boiling water.
- Stir the mixture, going around 23 times with your spoon (not 19 or 27 times!). Stirring is important so that the coffee grinds hydrate better and sink to the bottom so that you aren't drinking grainy coffee later.
- Let the coffee settle for a few minutes and sip while hot.
- Place coffee grinds and sugar (if using) in the kanaka. Top with cold water.
- Place the kanaka on the stove and heat on low very slowly until the mixture just begins to boil (if it boils too much, you will lose the foam, and possibly your good luck, especially when the coffee erupts out of the pot).
- Remove from heat and let sit 1 minute before pouring into a small coffee cup.