A tube-ride to Edgware Road is as good as a flight to the Middle East. Here is Little Egypt, Little Lebanon, Little UAE, and more. In little Bell Street, off Edgware Road, is truly Egyptian Restaurant “Ahl Cairo” [People’s Cairo] – on google street view here . Even when busy with the locals, they’ll happily help you through the menu.
All the classic dishes are there. Fiteer (like a stuffed pizza) , Molokhia (green Jute soup), Medames (fava beans), Kushari (rice and pasta, lentils. chickpeas, tomatoes), and so much more. Drinks include Sahlab (milk and cornflour boiled, with sugar added, topped with desiccated coconut) – truly delicious drink (and very thick – use a spoon ! ) , and great with baklava.
The Molokhia was served as a green soup, together with bread and olives. It’s made from finely chopped leaves of a particular Jute plant (Corchorus olitorius) “” , and flavoured with coriander and garlic. It’s sometimes called “Egyptian Spinach”. Tasty.
Jute leaves are a natural food thickener, so result in a soup that is slightly “mucilaginous” [let’s not say ‘slimy’ ] .
[“” A different, 3 meter tall, Jute plant is grown for the fibre from its bark, much in Bangladesh. That’s quite another – and tough – story. See youtube here. ] Jute fibre is course, so much used for sackcloth rather than for clothing.