Ancient Egyptian fish dishes

The civilization of Ancient Egypt was a shining light amid the darkness of the rest of the world. At this society’s center was the Nile River. It was on the banks of the Nile that Ancient Egypt grew and prospered. The river provided ancient Egyptians with transportation, irrigation and drinking water. But the Nile was also a major source of food.

Pharaonic inscriptions depict ancient Egyptians catching eel, tilapia, mullet and catfish from the Nile. These fish became a staple of the people living in Ancient Egypt. Fish were eaten in a variety of ways, and the ancient Egyptians were skilled at drying and salting fish, as well as extracting roe.

Below are two recipes for freshwater fish as they were eaten during the time of the Pharaohs.

Tilapia with naan bread (serves six):


6 whole tilapias

1 medium onion

1 liter of water

2 tablespoons of oil

1 dried and ground lemon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

2 loaves of naan bread


Scale and gut the fish, if this hasn’t been done already. Wash the fish well with cold water. Chop the onion into cubes and fry in oil until golden. Add water and bring to a boil.

Season the scaled, gutted fish with salt, pepper, and ground lemon powder and then add the fish to the boiling water.

After ten minutes take the fish from boiling water and remove bones. Reserve the broth.

Soak the naan bread in the broth and serve with the fish.

Roasted catfish with crushed wheat:


1/2 kilo of onions

1/2 cup of oil

1 kilo tomatoes

1/2 bunch of parsley

1/2 bunch of dill

1/2 bunch of coriander

1 cup of crushed wheat

4 whole catfish

4 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon chili

1 cup of water


Wash the crushed wheat and soak in water for one hour. Mince onion and fry in oil until golden.

Chop tomatoes into cubes, add to the frying onion, and stir on low heat until brown. Chop up the parsley, coriander and dill and add to the fried mix. Stir well.

Scale and gut the fish, then wash well with cold water. Mince garlic and mix with the salt and chili. Stuff the fish with this mixture.

Strain the crushed wheat, and line the bottom of a dish with half the wheat. Put in the fish, then cover  with the remaining wheat. Add tomato-onion mixture to this dish.

Place the dish in an oven at medium heat until the fish is brown.

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