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Bites Fil Beit Ramadan: Stuffed pigeons with green wheat - Daily News Egypt

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Bites Fil Beit Ramadan: Stuffed pigeons with green wheat

Ramadan offers a whole new challenge to cooking Egyptian food. The breaking of the fast, Iftar, is the main menu of the day and consists of an array of dishes. Traditionally the meal starts with juice, to prepare the stomach for the feast that is to come, and a savoury soup. Appetisers are up next, followed by a main course and a sweet dessert completes the meal. Iftars are meant to be shared and inviting your close friends and family for a home-cooked dinner-cum-breakfast can be daunting. But not to worry; during the month we will be giving you suggestions for full menus with a complete recipe for one of the dishes. Happy Ramadan!


  • Drink:                Tamr hendy
  • Salad:                Yogurt  salad
  • Main Course:  Mahshi 
  •                              Stuffed pigeons with green wheat
  •                              Molokheya
  • Desert:              Rice with sweet milk

Stuffed pigeons with green wheat


  •  4 pigeons with giblets – ha-mam with ki-bid wi ki-la-wi
  • 1 lemon, juiced – la-moon-a
  • 3 tbsp butter or oil – zib-da or zeit
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped – ba-sal
  • 2 cups cracked green wheat – freek
  • 1 tbs fresh mint, chopped – na-na
  • 4 cups chicken broth – ma-ra-a
  • salt and pepper – malh and fil-fil



Preparing the freek

  • Cover the freek with water and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 175C. Chop the giblets finely and set them aside. Squeeze the lemon juice over the pigeons, season them inside and out with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Heat the butter or oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and chopped giblets and fry until the onions are cooked through and translucent, seven or eight minutes.
  • Drain the freek and squeeze out any extra moisture. Add the freek, the mint and salt and pepper to the onions and stir well. Remove from heat.


Preparing the pigeons

  • Wash the pigeons well and dry them with kitchen paper. Stuff about 1/4 cup of the freek mixture into each pigeon. Set the remaining freek mixture aside.
  • Sew the body cavity of each pigeon closed with a trussing needle and tie the legs together. Place the pigeons, breast-side up, in a large casserole dish or ovenproof pot. Pour two cups of the chicken stock over the pigeons and cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
  • Place the dish in the oven and braise for about 90 minutes.  Baste with the braising juices once or twice during the cooking time.
  • About 30 minutes before the pigeons are ready, bring the remaining chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the remaining freek mixture, cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes, then remove from heat and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  • To serve, spread the reserved freek over a heated serving platter. Remove the pigeons from the oven and remove the trussing strings. Place the pigeons on top of the freek and pour the braising juices over the pigeons.


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