Egyptian side dishes

The Ultimate Guide to Egyptian Side Dishes

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Updated on March 23, 2024

Egyptian side dishes are a vibrant tapestry of flavours and textures, perfectly complementing the bold spices and rich stews that define Egyptian cuisine. Beyond the main course lies a treasure trove of flavours waiting to elevate your meals. 

Egyptian side dishes are more than just accompaniments; they’re an integral part of the culinary experience, offering a symphony of textures and tastes that will tantalise your taste buds. 

Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a curious beginner, this guide will be your passport to unlocking a world of flavour. Let’s delve into the heart of Egyptian cuisine and discover the side dishes that will have you yearning for more!

Traditional Egyptian Side Dishes

Egyptian side dishes

The heart of any Egyptian meal lies not just in the main course but in the symphony of side dishes surrounding it. These classic offerings boast a rich history and a depth of flavour that perfectly complements a variety of proteins and starches. 

Let’s explore some of the most iconic Egyptian side dishes, their unique characteristics, and the culinary stories they tell.

Koshari (Rice with Crispy Onions and Tomato Sauce)

Koshari is a loved dish in Egypt. It’s both street food and a national dish. This plate has rice, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas mixed together. Crispy onions add a sweet taste.

A special tomato sauce goes on top for zest. You will love this vegan meal as it doesn’t have any animal products in it!

Egyptian Lentil Soup

Egyptian Lentil Soup, or Shorbet Ads, is a much-loved dish in Egypt and other Arab lands. It’s creamy but contains no dairy. The soup is made from red lentils that cook fast.

People love this soup because it contains plant protein, which is very good for your health! You can make this tasty soup on the stovetop or put everything into an Instant Pot.

Either way, you’ll have a warm bowl of healthy Egyptian Lentil Soup ready to enjoy in no time at all.

Fattah (Meat with Rice, Toasted Pita and Tomato Sauce)

Fattah is a big part of Egyptian cuisine. It’s a dish full of taste and joy that we make on special days. Fattah has toasted pita chips, rice, and meat stacked up. A garlicky tomato sauce is poured on top for extra flavour.

Most of the time, the meat is either lamb or beef. The rice isn’t plain, no—it has lovely spices to add some kick! You’ll see this dish at festivals like religious days and weddings.

Ful Medames

Ful Medames is an old dish from Egypt. People love it so much that they named it the national dish. It has been part of Egyptian cuisine long before the Ottoman Empire and Islam came to Egypt.

This food is mostly made of fava beans, a favourite ingredient in many meals here. In Cairo and all over Egypt, Ful Medames are sold on the streets. Egyptians usually eat it as a breakfast food along with falafel, another well-known meal. These foods show our rich history very well!

Egyptian Hummus

Egyptian Hummus is a much-loved dish from the heart of Middle Eastern cuisine. This creamy chickpea dip is available everywhere, from food carts in busy Cairo streets to high-end restaurants.

This vegan-friendly side dish gets rich flavour from blending cooked and mashed chickpeas with tangy tahini sauce, fresh lemon juice, and other tasty ingredients. Its history spans back to ancient times when versions of it were made using local herbs instead of tahini.

Every bite carries traditional Mediterranean flavours that transport you straight to Egypt itself! And don’t forget pita bread – it’s the perfect partner for scooping up every last bit of this creamy delight!

Dukkah (Nut, Seed, and Spice Blend)

Dukkah is a tasty mix of seeds, nuts, and warm spices. It’s a big part of Egyptian food and culture. The raw ingredients are roasted to make this blend. Every cook has their own way of making dukkah, so many recipes exist.

You can use dukkah in lots of ways! Many people use it as a topping on meats, fish, or veggies. They also dip bread into oil and then into the spice mix for extra flavour! Dukkah has won hearts in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries with its unique taste.

Authentic Egyptian Recipes

Egyptian side dishes

Egyptian cuisine boasts a rich history dating back thousands of years. Influenced by the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa, Egyptian dishes are known for their bold spices, aromatic herbs, and fresh ingredients. 

Here’s a peek into some authentic Egyptian food recipes you can try at home:

Kibda (Egyptian Liver Sauce) and French Fries

Kibda (Egyptian Liver Sauce) and French Fries are popular street foods in Egypt, particularly in Alexandria. Kibda, a classic Egyptian dish featuring spiced liver, gets a modern twist when paired with crispy French fries. This recipe offers a unique fusion of flavours and textures, perfect for adventurous foodies or those looking to explore Egyptian cuisine with a familiar element.


For the Kibda

  • 1 pound beef liver, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

For the French Fries:

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into sticks
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt to taste


  1. Prepare the French Fries: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the potato sticks with enough oil to coat them evenly. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and crispy. Alternatively, deep fry the fries according to your preferred method. Season with salt while hot.
  2. Cook the Kibda: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper (if using) and cook for another minute.
  3. Increase the heat to high and add the sliced liver. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until browned on the outside but still slightly pink in the centre. Don’t overcook, or the liver will become tough.
  4. Add the cumin, chilli powder, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper. Stir to coat the liver.
  5. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld—season with salt to taste.
  6. Serve: Spoon the hot Kibda over a bed of French fries. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, and enjoy!


  • Soak the liver in milk for 30 minutes before cooking to remove any bitterness.
  • Adjust the spice level to your preference. For an extra kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • For a richer flavour, use ghee instead of vegetable oil.
  • Serve the Kibda with pita bread for an authentic Egyptian experience.
  • Leftover Kibda can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can then be reheated gently on the stovetop.

Egyptian Hawawshi

Hawawshi is a beloved Egyptian street food enjoyed by locals and tourists. It is a delightful twist on the classic pita bread. Imagine a warm, crispy pita pocket stuffed with a flavorful, aromatic ground meat mixture. It is commonly enjoyed as a side dish in Egyptian cuisine. That’s the magic of Hawawshi! 

Here’s a recipe to bring this Egyptian treasure to your kitchen:


For the Meat Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef (or lamb, if preferred)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For Assembly:

  • 6 pita breads
  • Olive oil for brushing


  1. Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, combine ground meat, chopped onion, bell pepper (if using), garlic, parsley, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, and black pepper—season generously with salt.
  2. Mix well: Using your hands, mix all the ingredients thoroughly until everything is evenly distributed and the meat mixture becomes cohesive.
  3. Heat Oil: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Form the Meat Pockets: Take a portion of the meat mixture and form it into a flattened oval shape, slightly smaller than the pita pocket.
  5. Cook the Meat: Place the formed meat patty in the hot skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Repeat this process for all the meat filling.
  6. Prepare the Pita Pockets: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) while the meat cooks. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut each pita bread in half to create pockets.
  7. Assemble the Hawawshi: Stuff each pita pocket with a cooked meat patty.
  8. Brush and Bake: Brush the outside of the stuffed pita pockets with olive oil. Arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the pita bread is golden brown and crispy.
  9. Serve: Serve Hawawshi hot, drizzled with tahini sauce or your favourite dipping sauce, and enjoy the explosion of flavours in every bite!


  • You can adjust the level of spice to your preference. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a touch of heat.
  • If you don’t have fresh bell peppers, you can substitute them with a finely chopped tomato for added moisture in the filling.
  • Leftover Hawawshi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently in a skillet or oven until warmed through.
  • Experiment with different fillings! You can use ground chicken, turkey, or a blend of meats for a variation.

Easy Egyptian Lentil Soup

This recipe offers a quick and flavorful take on the classic Egyptian lentil soup, perfect for a comforting and satisfying meal.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped fresh greens (spinach, kale, or Swiss chard work well)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)


  1. Heat the Oil: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables: Add the chopped onion and carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes until the onion is softened and translucent.
  3. Add Garlic and Spices: Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, releasing the aroma.
  4. Introduce the Lentils: Add the rinsed red lentils to the pot and stir to coat with the oil and spices.
  5. Pour in the Broth: Pour in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Simmer and Season: Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  7. Spice it Up: Add ground cumin and paprika to the pot while the lentils simmer—season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  8. Greens and Lemon: Once the lentils are cooked, stir in the chopped greens of your choice. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the greens are wilted.
  9. Finish with Lemon (Optional): Add a tablespoon of lemon juice (optional) for a touch of brightness and adjust seasonings as needed.
  10. Serve and Enjoy: Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve your Egyptian Lentil Soup hot with crusty bread for a complete meal.


  • To thicken the soup, you can mash some of the cooked lentils against the side of the pot with a fork before adding the greens.
  • For a richer flavour, you can substitute vegetable broth with chicken broth.
  • Add other vegetables to the soup, such as chopped celery, zucchini, or potatoes.
  • Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can then be reheated gently on the stovetop.

Easy Egyptian Koshari

Koshari, Egypt’s beloved national dish, doesn’t require complicated steps to be delicious. This easy recipe captures the essence of this vegetarian delight, bringing a symphony of textures and flavours to your table.


For the Koshari Rice:

  • 1 ½ cups medium-grain rice, rinsed and soaked for 15 minutes (optional)
  • ½ cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Macaroni:

  • ½ cup elbow macaroni

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the Toppings

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup crispy fried onions (store-bought or homemade)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)


  1. Cook the Rice and Lentils: Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a medium pot. Add the drained lentils and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rinsed rice (if soaked, drain first), salt, coriander, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice and lentils are cooked through. Fluff the rice with a fork and set aside.
  2. Cook the Macaroni: While the rice and lentils cook, prepare a separate pot of boiling salted water. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions for al dente texture. Drain and set aside.
  3. Make the tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the grated onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices, salt, and red pepper flakes (if using). Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly. Stir in the white vinegar and remove from heat.
  4. Assemble the Koshari: Spread half of the cooked rice and lentil mixture in a large serving bowl or individual bowls. Top with half of the cooked macaroni, followed by half of the chickpeas. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients.
  5. Garnish and Serve: Drizzle the warm tomato sauce over the assembled koshari. Top generously with crispy fried onions and chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy this warm and flavorful Egyptian comfort food!


  • For a richer flavour, substitute vegetable broth for water when cooking the rice and lentils.
  • You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes in the sauce to your desired spice level.
  • Leftover koshari can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can be reheated gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.


Egyptian side dishes offer a delicious and diverse range of flavours that reflect the country’s rich culinary heritage. From traditional recipes like Koshari and Fattah to easy-to-make dishes like lentil soup, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So why not explore the vibrant world of Egyptian cuisine and add some Middle Eastern flair to your meals?

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