It is the bread that is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals. The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, gluttonous pita called Eish Baladi (Egyptian Arabic).
The word Eish means “to live, be alive, life, way of living, livelihood”. In Modern Standard and Classical Arabic; folklore holds that this synonymy indicates the centrality of bread to Egyptians and their lives.
Besides providing the carbohydrate and much of the protein in the Egyptian diet, on a culinary level, bread in Egypt is most commonly used as an edible utensil. Egyptians use bread to scoop up food, sauces, and dips and to wrap kebabs, ta-ameia (falafel), and many other foods as sandwiches.
All Egyptian pita breads are made from whole wheat, wheat flour, wheat bran, water, salt & yeast. No preservatives, no fats, no sugars and it freezes very well. The Egyptian pita is always baked at high temperatures (450 ℉ or 232 ℃) in a brick oven, causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened into pockets, creating a space for use as a sandwich.
Egyptian pita bread is more expensive in Canada than the regular thin pitas. But you can find it at the Egyptian supermarket on Lawrence and Warden called Wadi Food. You can use Egyptian pita in various recipes, other than sandwich pockets and scooping food and dipping. One of my favourite recipes is Hawawshy, which is made of a loaf of pita brushed with olive oil, filled with ground beef, diced hot and mild green pepper, diced tomatoes and lots of diced onions and some garlic with some spices, then baked in the oven. Yummy!!!
Written by Maha Barsoom, Head Chef at Maha’s