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This Egyptian version of the falafel is so much a staple food in Egypt that t

he word ta'miyya derives, in fact, from the Arabic word for nourishment. The bes
t ta'miyya I ever had was in Marsa Matruh in Egypt's Western Desert. We had a ne
wspaper cone full of freshly cooked ta'miyya, which were spicy with onions, garl
ic, chopped coriander leaves, and parsley and had a little pocket of ground beef
in the center. The outside was fried to a deep brown in olive oil and the insid
e was light green. Rihan, a sweet basil that tastes like mint, was sprinkled on
top. Turshy, pickled turnips in this case, although elsewhere we've had carrots
and cucumber, which lay on a bed of arugula-like leaves known as gargir in Egypt
, were also served. In Egypt, the hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus [L.] Sweet.),
also called the Egyptian bean, is also used for making ta'miyya and are used as
a substitute for the fava beans.

Kushary is assembled by spooning into a bowl broken pieces of cooked spaghetti


and tubetti that are kept warm in a large pan, a cross between a wok and a tub.
In another large pan a mixture of cooked rice and lentils is warmed separately
and then tossed on top of the pasta, about three parts rice to one part lentils,
flavored by being sautéed first in samna (clarified butter). In a third, smaller
bowl are very brown, slightly crispy, and thinly sliced onions, also cooked in s
amna.
I ordered a bowl (which comes in two sizes) for 50 piasters, about 15 U.S. c
ents. First the cook s helper tosses the macaroni into the bowl with a large servi
ng ladle, on top goes the rice and lentils with a little hot liquidy tomato sauc
e, dim a musabika, and then the onions on top of that.
Egyptian Stewed Tomato Sauce
Dim'a Musabika
Region: Egypt
Category: Basic Recipes and Sauces
Season: Any
Difficulty: Easy
The Nile delta has been a productive agricultural area feeding Egypt since ancie
nt times. Once the tomato arrived from the New World it became as ubiquitous in
Egyptian cooking as it did in all other Mediterranean cooking. So much so, in fa
ct, that among the Bedouins of Egypt s Western Desert, and throughout Egypt in gen
eral, vegetables are always cooked bisalsa, with a tomato-based sauce, such as t
he ubiquitous dim a musabika (literally, stewed sauce). This sauce is excellent wi
th kushary, on top of spaghetti, or with any vegetable.
Yield: Makes 4 cups
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups water
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onion
until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes, s
tirring constantly so the garlic doesn t burn.
2. Mix the tomato paste and water and add to the onion. Reduce the heat to low w
hile you simmer the tomato sauce for 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, salt, blac
k pepper, and cayenne and cook until denser, about another 5 minutes.me without
adding any additional fat. Wrap and chill the dough for at least 45 minutes befo
re using it. It's easier if you make it the day before. Yield: 2 pounds pastry d
ough.

HEALTH MATTERS: There s more to gargir than meets the eye


By Ahmed Maged
First Published: July 21, 2007
[ ]
Gargir helps purify the blood of poisons and reduces the chances of developing l
eukemia

Watercress, gargir, as we call it in Arabic, has always been known for its aphro
disiac powers. The famous Egyptian saying if women knew the benefits of gargir, t
hey would grow it under their beds, is not unfounded.
But an Egyptian writer protested, arguing regrettably that despite the fact that
we have been eating the sour green plant for centuries, we have only seen it as
a sex stimulant or a cheaper alternative to iceberg lettuce in our salad.
In his article headlined The gargir world network, journalist Abdel Fatah Anani re
veals that some of those who would smile deridingly at this headline might not k
now that that such a network really does exist.
Based in Rome, it is operated by a health organization devoted to research on wa
tercress, its nutritional and pharmaceutical value and its related products.
In Europe and the US, said Anani, watercress is added to pizza, and is dried and
packed to be sold in supermarkets.
But what have we done with our gargir? he asks.
Nothing.
The writer related that while gargir-related research in Egypt has been neglecte
d, foreign specialists have taken our gargir seeds and sold it back to us for mi
llions of dollars in the form of medicine and other nutritional products.
While we have restricted our knowledge of gargir to its sexual aspects, others a
re aware that the plant is rich in calcium, iodine, iron and other vitamins that
energize body cells and treat anemia, caused by iron deficiency.
Nutritionists recommend eating fresh gargir or drinking gargir juice on a daily
basis because the plant activates white blood cells, preventing decay which is t
he main cause behind the growth of cancerous cells.
Gargir helps purify the blood of poisons and reduces the chances of developing l
eukemia. Those quitting smoking are, therefore, advised to drink a glass of garg
ir juice on an empty stomach every morning to rid the body of accumulated nicoti
ne which nourishes addiction to cigarettes.
Studies conducted on rats at the National Research Center in Cairo proved that b
oth gargir and olive oil are instrumental in reducing body fats and blood choles
terol.
Egyptian scientist Mohamed Saed Khafaghi said that gargir also prevents hair los
s. Mix 15 grams of the plant with 50 grams of spirit and orange-blossom water an
d rub the mixture onto the scalp and rinse it daily for two weeks, he suggests.
The most relevant benefit to gargir should come in handy these days when the tem
perature has soared triggering many skin problems.
To those suffering from sunburn, the good news is that a spoonful of olive oil a
dded to a minced bunch of gargir, mixed then drained would reduce the effect of
sunburn when massaged onto the inflicted areas.
Always add it to your salad, for gargir is helps digestion. It also stimulates u
rination and ovulation. This is why pregnant women and those suffering from over
-secretions of the thyroid gland are warned against consuming it to excess.

What is gargir?
In origin, it is called jarjir , but Egyptian speak g instead of j . Gargir is a plant
hat its leaf has the form like spinach and it has a height about 20 cm. The tast
e is somewhat bitter but crisp on the tongue. Egyptians (from various circles) d
o like it, because in addition to cheap, he is also very useful. You will find i
t easily in every vegetable markets, especially in traditional markets.
Here, some benefits of gargir, like Dr. Sa ad Mohammed Khafaji (Professor of medic
ine and medicinal plants, pharmaceutical, Alexandria University) says:
Arab people knew gargir, and described in ancient medical that its seed is spicy
like mustard, its leaf and mature seed are consumed, and by drinking the juice w
ill strengthen sex, so it is useful for human. And it expedites urine, aids dige
stion when you eat some food with it, and it is a mineral oil for stomach. And a
lso the juice can erase spots on the skin. And eating it is the blood cleanse an
d can accelerate the blood flow, and it also helps stabilization of teeth, gums
strength and its bleeding. It also helps to relieve cold and respiratory desease
, because it eradicates the common cold and can be analgesic for the pain of rhe
umatism and arthritis
The researchers say, that gargir containes mustard metarial plus vitamin C, iodin
e, sulfur, iron, and they warned that excessive consumption of it is dangerous b
ecause it will cause disturbances in digestion and heartburn in the urine and bl
eeding of pregnant woman . So it is dangerous for pregnant women, but so useful fo
r others.
You will find hajar jahannam easily in Khan el-Khalili, and find gargir in veget
ables markets. When you visit Al-Azhar mosque (beside Khan el-Khalili) you will
find the market behind it. If the first is able to be faked but the latter is no
t.
Gargir is very crisp when you are consuming it in the raw and fresh, either with
sandwich, fried nodles, crouton, soup or rice.