Our journey through Egypt begins with Hawawshi, a dish that is considered to be the epitome of Egyptian street food but actually has a fairly recent past. If we discover this meat sandwich in all of the major cities of the country and if it has even expanded to some of the countries that border Egypt, then it would have first emerged in Cairo in the year 1971.
Even while we do not fully know the reasons which motivated Ahmed al-Hawawsh, a humble butcher from Souk Al-Tawfik, to invent this meal, we do know that its success was instantaneous throughout the country.
Among the ingredients that make it up are, without a doubt, beef, parsley, garlic and onion, pepper, but most importantly, an intense taste concentration achieved through the use of a potent combination of spices. Ground coriander, paprika, cardamom, cumin, and cayenne pepper are going to be featured on the program.
Even while the filling is often the same throughout the country, the preparation of this dish varies greatly from region to region. Both the “baladi” (regular) and the Alexandrian versions of the meal are baked in the oven using either flat Egyptian bread or two circular layers of dough. The dish can be prepared in either of these two ways.
Today, most likely as a result of the popularity of fast food, merchants include roomi, which is a type of cheese that is analogous to pecorino or Greek kefalotyri, the source of the dish’s potential inspiration.
For 12 persons
- 2 kg ground beef
- 3 chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, grated
- 500 grams of bell pepper, finely diced
- 90 grams of chopped parsley
- 15 grand of Salt
- 10 grams of pepper
- 14 grams of garlic powder
- 10 grams of coriander powder
- 1-2 tsp allspice
- 10 grams of paprika
- 15 grams of ground cardamom
- 10 grams of ground cumin
- 5 grams of cayenne pepper
- 12 grams of ground cloves
- 10 grams of ground cinnamon
- Olive oil
- 12 Pita
Preheat the oven, to 200 C°.
The recipe is super straightforward.
You can also make these delicacies ahead of time and then reheat them when it’s time to eat.
In a big bowl, combine all of the ingredients with the exception of the oil and the pitas.
After you’ve sliced the pitas in half and stuffed them with the filling, brush them with olive oil.
Put some parchment paper on a plate and place these delights on top.
Put in the oven and cook for 18 minutes at 200°C.
What wine goes well with
For Hawawshi, a medium-bodied red mix like a Rhône-style or GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) blend would be ideal. While the medium tannins in these wines won’t overpower the meat, they frequently feature spicy overtones that enhance the flavors in the dish.
Hawawshi would pair well with a Pinot Noir from a region with a milder climate, like Oregon or Burgundy. While the wine’s light to medium body won’t overshadow the meal, its earthy and fruity aromas will go well with the meat and spices in it.
A crisp, dry rosé would be a cool complement to hawawshi. The acidity and fruitiness of the wine will counteract the richness of the meat, and its lighter body won’t overpower the flavors of the meal. The stunning, spicy and super juicy Bandol Rosé 2021 Chateau St. Anne would be perfect.
If you’re searching for a more daring combo, Hawawshi might go nicely with a Zinfandel due to its rich fruitiness and spicy undertones. Its strong flavor will go well with the spices in the meat, and its high alcohol concentration might help cut through the dish’s richness.
For Hawawshi, a Syrah or Shiraz from Australia or the Northern Rhône would be ideal. While the wine’s robust body and tannins can withstand the richness of the meat, its smokey and spicy characteristics will accentuate the flavors in the dish. Pair the magnificent Crozes-Hermitage C’est le Printemps 2019 Dard et Ribo, if you can find it: it’s a lovely, artisanal wine full of floral, peppery elegance.
Generally speaking, the secret to pairing wine with hawawshi is to pick a wine with just enough body and flavor to compete with the spices and richness of the meal, but not too much that it overpowers it.