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Old 03-28-2006, 10:53 PM   #1
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Egyptian Pancakes

I have just come across a query by Chinachef way back in November, 2005, who asked or a recipe for an Egyptian Pancake. There was no reply. Perhaps it s not too late to chuck something in?

In many parts of the Middle East they serve what are usually called Ajjas. It is the Arab version of the Spanish Tortilla (not to be confused with the Mexican Tortilla). In Egypt they are often called Eggah. In Iran they are known as Kuku.

Here is a recipe I have used.

4 eggs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white parts julienned
A large potato, grated
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Beat the eggs well in a bowl, and add the chopped onion, julienned leek, and the chopped parsley. Add the grated potato and the cumin. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Heat butter to foaming in a large skillet and add the egg-mixture (It needs to be thinner than the traditional Spanish Tortilla.)

Turn down the heat immediately and cook very very slowly on the lowest heat you can provide, for about 20 minutes.

This pancake is often served with chopped salted anchovies added to the egg mixture, after washing to remove the salt and dried.

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Old 03-28-2006, 11:28 PM   #2
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How, when, and with what does one serve this pancake? I always think of breakfast pancakes served with butter and syrup or the French crepe that is stuffed and rolled for an entree or dessert.
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:52 AM   #3
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No, this is not a pancake as you understand the term. It is not a griddle cake or a waffle type pancake. The term pancake is a misnomer.

Think of it as a variation of a Spanish Tortilla (Not a Mexican tortilla). You cut it up and serve it as a snack or as a starter. It can even be served as a light lunch or a light supper.

Believe me, it is delicious.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:09 PM   #4
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Thanks Advoca. It reminded me of a potato pancake but with inions. I did not know how or when they were served. I will have to make some sounds like a good appetizer.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:16 PM   #5
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It sounds a little like our hashbrowns, but with egg. Thanks for this. It sounds wonderful!!
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:18 PM   #6
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Oh, I am intrigued!!

Advoca, do you not flip the pancake at all? I have no idea what a Spanish tortilla is, but is this similar to a frittata? Or to either a scallion pancake or even Egg Foo Yung?

Sounds like something I must try!

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Old 03-29-2006, 02:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by QSis
Oh, I am intrigued!!

Advoca, do you not flip the pancake at all? I have no idea what a Spanish tortilla is, but is this similar to a frittata? Or to either a scallion pancake or even Egg Foo Yung?

Sounds like something I must try!

Qsis, Spanish tortilla is just like thick omelette, baked in one piece instead of folded over, and like Advoca's recipe cut in pieces like a pie and serve it..
Yes it does sound similar to frittata, though I use evoo to cook instead of butter, and flip it and cook on the both sides...
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:41 PM   #8
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Interest has been shown about my reference to Arab Tortillas.

But what is a Tortilla? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as a round thin cake of unleavened cornmeal or wheat flour bread usually eaten hot with a topping or filling (as of ground meat or cheese). It adds that the term is American Spanish, from Spanish. However, a tortilla in Spain (and the Middle East) and the Mexican tortilla have nothing in common but the name, which comes from the Latin ‘torta,’ meaning a round cake. But is Span, and indeed throughout the Middle East, a Tortilla is quite different.

It could be said that the one thing the Spanish, Gibraltarians, Italians, Arabs, and Iranians have in common is the thick cooked egg ‘tortillas’ (what else can I call them?) though they are tortillas in Spain, ajjas in the Arab countries, kuku in Iran, frittatas in Italy, and fritillos in Gibraltar. I have even come across them in Greece, though they do not seem to have a special name there. All of these delicious ‘tortillas’ are heavy with vegetables or meat, and are slowly cooked on both sides. The result is like a kind of cake, uniformly solid throughout.

A slice makes a most delicious snack, and a quarter makes a perfect light lunch, especially when eaten in the open air, warm or cold, in the bright sunshine of any of the countries from which they came.

In the Middle East the tortillas are usually thinner than the Spanish variety, and are often cut into quarters and rolled up to be served as snacks.

In Spain there are many ways of making tortillas. In Alicante and in the Asturia in northern Spain, they tend to leave the middle soft and juicy — it is still in round cake form, but is not uniformly firm. In La Coruña in Galicia they cook the tortilla on one side only, and flip it over when serving it, so that the underside is slightly liquid. And there are even recipes which call for the tortilla to be folded in half, French omelette style, one with tuna and the other with dates.

Tortilla Española is the all-time Spanish tapas classic, for there are few tapas bars in Spain that do not serve this for eating warm or cold. It is sold in most Spanish delicatessens too, though many of them cheat by using plain boiled potato rather than potato cooked in olive oil.

Here is the recipe for Tortilla Española:

extra virgen olive oil
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
3 large eggs

You will need a thick bottomed non-stick frying pan (after all it is the 21st century!). This will eliminate the need for keeping a special omelette pan, or having to shake the pan to stop the egg from sticking.

Put the diced potato into an 8 inch (20 cm) thick-bottomed frying pan, and add the oil to just cover, and cook over medium heat so that the potato ‘boils’ in the oil rather than fries. Meanwhile, chop the onion finely and add to the pan after about 5 minutes. Stir to mix well. A minute later, add the chopped garlic, and stir again to mix well. Continue cooking until the potato is tender, a further 10 minutes or so. It should not brown.

Meanwhile beat the eggs well, and add salt and pepper.

When the potato is soft-cooked, add the beaten eggs, and stir well to get an evenly distributed mixture about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Turn down the heat to the very very lowest setting possible and allow the tortilla to cook very very gently. Do not disturb the mixture again or stir. Cook until the top is just beginning to set, about 10 minutes. Then place a warmed plate over the pan, and holding it tightly to the pan turn both over so that the tortilla is upside down on the plate. The visible surface should be nice and brown. Slide the tortilla back into the pan, turn the heat to medium and continue cooking for another 1 - 2 minutes. Slide the tortilla onto a warm serving plate, and cut into portions for your guests.
Supply crusty bread to accompany.

There are many variations of the Tortilla Española. These include a Red Pepper Tortilla, Spinach Tortilla, Onion Tortilla, Tortilla Específico, Tortilla Asturiana, Tortilla Coruñesa, Date Tortilla (Elche style), and a Fritillos de Garbanzos, a Gibraltarian specialty which owes its origins to Persia but which probably crept in via Morocco. In addition, there is a Marinated Tuna Tortilla, and a Butter-bean Tortilla. There is also an Arab Ajja, an Ajja Khodar Meshakel (Mixed Vegetable Arab Ajja), an Iranian Kuku, a Kukuye Gusht,

But there are also Tortillas of my own devising, including Tortilla Fu Yung, Cassia Lamb Tortilla, Muss Slomelette (a Tortilla Española with Mussels), and a Grand Tortilla Surprise using soft boiled quall eggs in the centre.

The Tortilla Española is extremely versatile -- and delicious too.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:51 PM   #9
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Advoca- thank you so much for all the recipes and the history lessons as well- It was really very interesting-again thank you so much- I really enjoyed reading your descriptions and am looking forward to trying the recipes!!
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Old 04-10-2006, 01:49 PM   #10
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I don't flip my tortillas/fritattas, rather take it off the stove when it first sets up, then put close under the broiler to finish. It's mostly just that I'm lousy at flipping anything without making a mess.

I, too, love the history, geography, and cultural lessons! Keep it up! I'm so jealous of your travel experience!
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Old 04-10-2006, 05:00 PM   #11
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Dear Claire,

But doesn’t this melt the plastic handles of the skillet?

I don’t find it hard to turn the tortilla over using a plate on the pan. That’s easy. No skill involved.
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:38 PM   #12
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hey I just made advoca's egyptian omellete. It's really good the taste of coriander and sardine (actually anchovy) is sublime.

I made one plain (w/o anchovy) and one with anchovy. The plain one I boiled in butter/oil and the anchovy in pork fat/oil. I dont think it matters what it fries in. My wife is not big on anchovy but I like to put it in foods and see if she can taste it. She had the plain one first, then I served her the anchovy and she said it was sort of fishy. she like that one too. My 2 1/2 yr. old daughter ate a lot of the anchovy one, she asked for seconds and thirds. I was impressed.

I served it w/ a little sour cream. I wonder if a mint sauce would be good or maybe some Lowry's seasoning?
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:20 PM   #13
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You have to use a skillet without plastic handles.
Some skillets are advertised as "oven-proof". As long as they don't have plastic handles, I think they're safe. My dad loves ovens and melted some of our friends skillet handles before...
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