Christmas all over the world – today: Egypt

We have asked some researchers to tell us what Christmas means to them and how they celebrate it at home. This is one answer from Mohammed, which goes along with two recipes – thank you, that sound very yummy!

“Lights in the old town; a couple of mulled wine or “Kinderpunsch” glasses while watching puppet theatre, merry-go-round, and the painted wooden fairytale castle; Dresdener Stollen with tea, then passing by the new market to enjoy the medieval atmosphere; and attending the Semper Opera House performance of Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy tale play “Hansel and Gretel” by the famous Brothers Grimm. This is the Christmas charming atmosphere for me in Dresden. The atmosphere is a little different in Egypt, as the majority of people prefer to take the whole family from their cold cities, to the towns on the Red Sea (Marsa Alam, Hurgada, Gouna or Sharm Al Shiekh) as the temperature there reaches 22 degrees during the day and you have amazing chance to swim or dive, then parties and dancing all night along. As at Christmas time, most of the people start eating two amazing dishes, the first is sweet couscous with toasted nuts, sugar powder and of course cinnamon, the other dish is salty which is something between drink and food and called halabessa (spicy limy hummus snack), both dishes are amazing to give you power and warm your body up during this cold season (if you did not travel to the Red Sea already :P ).

In my eyes always Christmas atmosphere is the same everywhere; Christmas for everyone means happiness, family, gathering and of course a lot of sweets :)”


Sweet Couscous – A super easy and quick couscous dessert

1 cup couscous
1 1/4cup of water (or milk if preferred)
2Tbs unsalted butter- divided
1/4cup powdered sugar

For garnishing
Coconut flakes, and your favorite nuts (toasted unsalty) , more powdered sugar.



1. In a medium pot, add water (milk) and 1 Tbs of butter and bring to a boil.
2. Add couscous and continue boiling for 1 minutes.
3. Cover and remove from heat, let it rest for 10 minutes.
4. Fluff couscous lightly with a fork, add 1/4 c of powdered sugar and the remaining butter and continue fluffing until all are incorporated.
*Top with nuts, raisins, dried cranberry, coconut flakes, cinnamon and more powdered sugar.

Halabessa – spicy Limy hummus snack

A winter drink that is going to warm and fill you up as well.

1 cup of dry chickpeas – always preferable to use the dry
1 medium tomato- quartered
1 medium yellow onion- quartered
2 garlic cloves- whole
1/2 c tomato sauce or 2 Tbs tomato paste
spices to serve with
Salt ground cumin, chili powder and limes.


1. Wash chickpeas and soak in water at least for 3 hours, changing the water once or twice.
2. Drain the water then put the chickpeas into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer the chickpeas for 20 minutes, skimming the foam every now and then.
4. Add onion, tomato, garlic and tomato sauce and keep simmering the chickpeas until it is done, will take about an hour.
5. *Serve hot with spices on the side.

Recipe Notes * Everyone should adjust the spices according to their taste.

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