In October 2016 I spent five days cruising down the Nile in Egypt on the Sanctuary Retreats Sun Boat IV. The boat featured its own chef with a culinary staff that made almost everything fresh daily from the bread, salads, mint lemon juice, soups, and a variety of entrees. The ship featured an assortment of food daily from lavish buffets for breakfast and lunch to plated four-course dinners. The lavish buffets featured an impressive amount of fresh ingredients with a massive assortment of colorful salads and meat dishes with a platter of desserts. I had a unique opportunity to go to the kitchen for a cooking class with the chef to learn a few traditional Egyptian dishes.
The first recipe that the chef showed us how to make was Baba Ghanouj, which is a vegetable dip made from roasted eggplant mixed with different spices like lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, pepper and then mixed with tahini. It’s served with a drizzle of olive oil on top and fresh vegetables or bread for dipping. They served Baba Ghanouj almost every day on the boat and it was delicious!
The second recipe that the chef showed us how to make was Koshari. Koshari is a popular traditional dish in Egypt which is similar to spaghetti with noodles and rice topped with savory deep-fried onions. Koshari is a great meal almost using leftovers and is vegetarian-friendly because it doesn’t traditionally have any meat in it.
Koshari is made by mixing cooked macaroni with rice, lentils, garlic, salt, pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Of course, you can add any other savory spices you like to it. It’s topped off with thinly sliced deep-fried onions. To make the onions, they cut them extremely thin and toss them in spices and flour prior to quickly deep-frying them. The dish is then topped with a tomato sauce made from roasted cherry tomatoes, spices, garlic, olive oil, and other herbs as you see fit! It’s absolutely filling and savory. Pure Yum.
My absolute favorite thing that we learned how to make was the third recipe for dessert, called Om Ali. It’s an Egyptian bread pudding made by mixing cooked puff pastry, nuts, raisins, coconut with warm sweetened milk and sugar. It’s then topped with a whipped cream that’s torched like a crème brûlée. The final crust is crystalized and super yummy. The texture is very creamy with crunch from the nuts. It’s easy to make and you can whip it up in a jiffy. If you get a chance to sail the Nile in Egypt I highly recommend a cooking class to learn more about Egyptian cuisine Boat: Sanctuary Retreats Sun Boat IV Location: Boarded in Luxor, Egypt and sailed to Aswan, Egypt while exploring the historical sites along the Nile.
Claire Soares is the founder of tour companies “Up in the Air Life” and “Urban Yacht Life” based in the Washington, D.C. area. As a million-miler, visiting over 45 countries while learning the ins and out of luxury travel, Claire uses her love for luxury, champagne, and exotic destinations to provide her clients with once in a lifetime experiences coupled with a full concierge service.