This post has been on my to do list for months now. I am finally buckling down and writing it after much search of where to purchase pigeons, I failed to find a halal butcher that sells them so settled for quail instead (close enough match). For all those Egyptian fans out there, don’t shoot me, I tried honest. Get ready for my hamam mahshi recipe which is to die for.
The consumption of pigeons date all the way back to 3000 DC. You will still find many restaurants serve stuffed pigeon in Egypt especially the typical Egyptian restaurants. Abu Sid in Cairo is my all time favourite to go to place for real authentic Egyptian food from foul madames (broad beans) to waraq 3nib (stuffed vine leaves) and kushary (rice and lentil dish).
Well very similar to duck, so if you like duck, you will fall in love with pigeons. The tot absolutely loved it!
You typically eat it with a side salad or tahini or even some waraq 3nib. The pigeons are tiny, and usually people eat two. One was more than enough to satisfy my appetite.
Now the stuffing can be either rice (the choice I went with) or you can stuff with Fereekh (green bulgur wheat). The latter tastes amazing, but just didn’t have any at home at the time of cooking this. I would suggest soaking the Fereekh in water for 2 hours prior to stuffing and cook in the same way you cook the rice.
All you need for 2 pigeons:
4 bay leaves
4-5 whole peppercorns
For the stuffing:
1/2 cup of rice
A handful of almond nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of chopped chicken liver
1 Onion grated
1-2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1-Soak your pigeon in water with some salt and vinegar for about 10 minutes
2-Rinse them and take out the insides. You can throw away or pan fry them
3-Boil your rice for about 5-10 minutes until half-cooked and drain them
4-In the meantime blanch your almond nuts in water for 5 minutes and remove the outer skin (optional), you could just chop it up
5-Put the rice in a bowl with the grated onion, chopped chicken liver, cinnamon, nuts and season to taste
6-Carefully stuff the pigeon, you don’t want to rip the skin, try to get in as much rice as you can and seal with a kebab stick or tooth pick
7-Place in your baking tray with an onion cut in half on either sides with the bay leaves and peppercorn. Any rice left over can be added to the dish and cooked with it
8-Smear some butter over the skin of the pigeon and cover with foil and cook for about 45 minutes at 170 degree Celsius..9-When they look done, remove from the tray and place on the serving plate. Now the real Egyptian way is to pan fry the pigeon in some butter for a couple of minutes until the skins are brown, but I skipped this step
You can tuck in with a side salad or whatever takes your fancy. I made some tahini sauce using 3 tablespoons of tahini, some water and lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. Garlic gives me heartburn so I omitted that, but typically, you add one crushed garlic to the mix.
The nutty rice, I seriously go nuts over:)
Hamam mahshi is a must try guys, so go out and buy your quails and get baking. Next time you have your friends over, surprise them, trust me they will love it. Vegan lovers will have to give it a miss.
Once tried and tested, drop me a line below, I would love to hear your feedback.