Cairo Kitchen
Jonathan Gregson

At the start of the twentieth century there were about two hundred thousand Greeks in Egypt and at one time they controlled eighty percent of Egypt’s financial life, founded the first bank and established many of the country’s theatres and cinemas. The numbers have today dwindled to somewhere around one thousand, but their influence can still be felt. Many of their dishes have become important in Egyptian cuisine, adapted to fit Egyptian ingredients and palates. Moussaka, a traditionally Greek dish, is a perfect example.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 onions
2 green peppers, cut into quarters
1 large aubergine, sliced
500g minced beef
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 fresh hot chilli, chopped
1 litre pureed tomatoes
1 tomato, sliced
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a large frying pan. Slice one of the onions and fry with the pepper quarters for 5 to 7 minutes until softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Fry the aubergine slices, in batches if necessary, in the same pan with the remaining oil until they have softened and released any water.
  3. Finely chop the other onion and add to another pan with the minced beef, garlic, cumin and coriander, chilli and some salt and pepper and sauté until the beef is browned. Stir in the puréed tomato and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  5. Put half the fried onion and pepper and the aubergine in a 30 x 22 x 7 cm ovenproof dish, then add half the minced beef and tomato. Repeat the layers, seasoning with salt and pepper after each layer. Add the tomato slices on top.
  6. Put the dish in the oven and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until cooked through and nicely browned on top.
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