Prawn sayadeya

Prawn sayadeya

Cairo Kitchen
Jonathan Gregson

At Cairo Kitchen, we serve our prawn sayadeya with the Alexandrian koshary rice, which is made from rice and yellow lentils cooked together. This provides a little more texture than plain rice and the flavours mix nicely with the prawn sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
50g spring onions, cut into thin matchsticks
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 green pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
1 teaspoon fresh red chilli, finely chopped, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
500g raw prawns, (peeled weight)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
handful fresh coriander, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

For the base

Quantity Ingredient
500g short-grain rice
250g yellow lentils
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
500g tomatoes
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
pinch ground cumin
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon sugar


  1. To make the base, soak the rice and lentils together in water for half an hour.
  2. Drain and then wash the yellow lentils and the rice three to four times until the starch is removed from the rice and the colour is clear.
  3. In a medium pot, heat the oil over a medium heat and add the rice and lentils.
  4. Stir in salt and the cumin and pour in 750 ml boiling water.
  5. Once all the ingredients have come up to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover immediately and cook for 20 minutes or until tender.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, peel the tomatoes by cutting a cross in the base of each tomato, then plunge briefly into boiling water and slip off the skins when cool enough to handle.
  7. In a pot over a medium heat, fry the garlic in the vegetable oil until golden. Add the peeled tomatoes, cumin, tomato paste, sugar and salt, to taste, and stir frequently, mashing a little, for 20 minutes until you have a tomato purée.
  8. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat, add the red onion and spring onion and cook for a few minutes until softened, but not browned. Add the garlic, green pepper, red chilli and the cumin seeds, stir, then add the tomato sauce and prawns and cook for 5 to 7 more minutes.
  9. Just before serving, season to taste with the salt, black pepper and allspice.
  10. To serve, ladle the prawn sayadeya over the rice and lentils base and garnish with the fresh coriander.
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