I have always loved to experiment with food and cooking. Growing up in an Egyptian household, that always meant straying away from the traditional and finding a recipe off the beaten track or a dish inspired by foreign cuisines. If I wanted molokheya, I wasn’t going to be the one to cook it.
Recently, however, I moved out of my family home and found myself suddenly at an impasse: I missed the traditional, quintessentially Egyptian foods I had grown up with, but I had never learned how to cook any of them. Of course, I could still have them when I visited my family, but this inability to satisfy my own food cravings in my own home felt like a real gap in my cooking resumé.
And so, I embarked on a journey through the internet to discover the most authentic and accessible Egyptian cooking tutorials.
The result, in retrospect, should not have surprised me. The polished, highly professional, aesthetically pleasing videos I was used to from Instagram Reels and TikToks were nowhere to be found. Neither were English terminology or imported ingredients.
Instead I was met with warm, friendly voiceovers from Egyptian women who, through their videos, virtually invited me into their kitchens to watch their process. With little to no specialist equipment and no fancy editing, these women taught me their own, their mothers’, and their grandmothers’ recipes, and showed me with practiced movements and simple descriptions how to cook my favourite foods.
While I am still someone who values exposure to international food cultures and flavour profiles, I realised that exploring traditional foods is one of the quickest and most authentic ways to connect with my Egyptianness. The unaffected, real content these women created helped me do that, teaching me skills I knew I wanted to gain, and maybe one day pass on.
Here are some of my favourite videos of everyday Egyptian women cooking typical Egyptian food, for anyone hoping to catch up on the irresistible basics.