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Simit Is the Ultimate Affordable Pleasure
At the dawn of my professional life, I had a job that unfortunately came with a toxic environment that was sucking my soul out, daily!
The stressful job offered a prestigious package that I wasn’t mature enough to give up! But that is not the core of our subject!
Other than the salary and title, my office offered a magnificent view of the Nile!
So by 5pm every day, I would leave my office and grab a cab. Few minutes after the ride starts, the cab would usually get stuck in Cairo’s crazy traffic. In fact, I never minded the rush hour that crippled the traffic by the Nile corniche. I actually would open the window to soak up the fresh breeze of the Nile and look at the most healing view.
The laughter of families and whispers of lovers, all strolling in mobs, aimlessly along the Nile, was a soul cleanse. Yet one more detail, complemented that lovely. It is the pompous voice of the simit street vendor, bragging about the freshness of his bread.
What is Bagel
Egyptian Simit is a bagel-shaped bread, covered with sesame seeds and eaten with duqqah, gebna roomi (a hard cheese similar to Parmesan), and hard boiled eggs.
Being the affordable treat they are, simit & duqqah became the epitome of simple life and attainable pleasures.
Since I left Egypt and embarked on my nomadic life over two decades ago, I was longing for that wafting smell of freshly baked Simit, until I stumbled on a couple of good recipes.
The recipe shared here today is adapted from the TV food figure, Assia Osman Kitchen, @assiakitchen.
I translated the recipe from Arabic and tested it in my kitchen. The stack of simit didn’t last long on my kitchen counter and it disappeared before I knew it.
One last word before we move to the recipe: Make sure to include in your bucket list, a stroll by the Nile and a felucca ride. Both will dent your memory for ever.
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Recipe adapted from Assia Osman @assiakitchen
For the Dough
- 600 grams all purpose flour
- 200ml water, warm
- 200ml milk, warm
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 100ml canola oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Glaze
- 200 grams sesame and/or black sesame
- 1 beaten egg, or some oil
- Proof the yeast: In a deep bowl mix together the milk, water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside until it gets foamy and frothy.
- Make the dough: Add to the container of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, the flour, and oil. Mix them well until the flour is well coated with oil. Toss in the beaten egg, the vinegar, and the salt, and run the mixer at a low speed while adding the milk-water-yeast mixture slowly, until a soft, sticky dough comes together.
- Let the dough rise: Transfer the dough to a clean container coated with oil, cover it with a towel and/or stretch tight, and let it rest in a warm place.
- Shape the dough: When the dough has risen, transfer to the kitchen counter and cut into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a long rope, fold the rope in the middle, twist it, and seal the ends to form a twisted circle. Repeat with all 12 pieces.
- Apply the sesame: Brush the surface of each shaped simit with the beaten eggs or the oil, and sprinkle sesame on top.
- Bake the simit in a preheated oven at 425°F/220°C, on a baking sheet line with parchment paper for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
- Serve: Simit is best served with freshly made Dukka or Duqqah.