Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall: Taameyya


For September, Eat The World is exploring Egyptian cuisine. So as I mentioned in my review of The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico, I am trying to mash these two challenges into one. Since this month we are doing Egyptian cuisine, I opted to find a book set in Egypt. I didn’t do a good job, though there were several mentions of Egyptian foods in this book. I truly disliked Shadows on the Nile, rating it 1 star on goodreads. The average as of the date I am writing this entry is 3.53.

Shadows on the Nile is a mystery set in 1912. Jessie, an English woman, learns her brother has gone missing. She begins to follow clues he has left for her to find him. These clues, many Sherlock Holmes related, lead her to Egypt. I find the book boring, slow paced, and predictable. And it really didn’t have any of the Egyptian food references I was hoping might pop up. The food that did show up included:

  • Herring
  • Steak
  • Apfelstrudel
  • Two fried eggs on toast, three fried tomatoes, and three mushrooms
  • Milky cocoa and a ginger biscuit
  • Rhubarb and custard
  • Scrambled egg
  • Orange marmalade
  • Escargots, trout meuniere, pigeon roti, and graptefruit sorbet
  • Shai tea
  • Peaches and spiced wine
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Mashed potatoes and steamed tasteless fish
  • Tea and watermelon with yogurt and honey
  • Eesh baladi
  • Mint tea
  • Slice of melon
  • Flatbread rolled around goat’s cheese
  • Cinnamon
  • Falafel and pita bread
  • Two eggs and a piece of millet bread
  • Lemonade
  • Kushari and mezzes

With the very few Egyptian recipes presented in the book, I googled each. Eesh baladi (or aish baladi as everything online says) is flatbread. Kushari is a delicious dish of lentils, noodles, and more. I have made kushari in the past. I wanted to try something new. While I have had falafel in the past, I decided to google Egyptian falafel and see if it was something unique to Egypt or if it was the chickpea fritters I have had in the past. To my delight, I learned about the taameyya, which doesn’t use chickpeas and is much greener than falafel I have had previously.

If you look taameyya up on wikipedia, it brings you to the page about falafels. And as wiki explains, falafel are deep fried balls of beans with herbs, spices, and onions. Falafel is a well known Egyptian and other Middle Eastern dish. Known as taameyya in Egypt, the literal translation is “a little taste of food” or “a small tasty thing.” In Egypt the taameyya is most commonly made with fava beans.

I made so many taameyya in this process because I soaked too many beans. Instead of letting the soaked beans go bad, I made a huge batch of these fritters. The first meal involved taameyya on pita. The next meal involved a salad with taameyya on top. Both options were delicious. Because I couldn’t find fava beans in my local stores, I opted for a broad bean. Because I did not buy them pre-split, I had to peel them before I could use them in the falafel mix. It was quite a bit of work, but ultimately delicious. The recipe turned out way better than the book.



14 oz broad beans
1 onion, cut into pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch of parsley, no stems
1 bunch of cilantro, no stems
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
oil for frying
Sesame seeds, to taste


  1. For at least 8 hours or up to overnight, soak the beans in a bowl of water, making sure the water covers the beans.
  2. Once the beans are soaked and plump, peel the skin off of the beans.
  3. In a food processor combine the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cornstarch, baking soda, coriander, cumin, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add the beans to the food processor. Pulse until a course paste is formed. Scrape the paste into a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to a half hour, allowing it to firm.
  5. Wet your hands and form balls of the paste about 2-3 tbsp in size. Set on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Pat the seeds into place.
  6. In a cast iron skillet heat olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot add no more than 5 taameyya to the skillet at a time. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.
  7. Continue to fry the taameyya in batches until complete.
  • Makes approximately 20 taameyya.

Check out all the wonderful Egyptian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Lahma Bil Basal (Egyptian Beef in Onion Sauce)
PalatablePastimeBedouin Stuffed Grape Leaves
SnehaDatar:Vegan Egyptian Koshari# Eat the World
Literature and Limes: Taameyya
Pandemonium Noshery: Ful Medames
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Ghorayebah Cookies
The Gingered Whisk: Basbousa Cake Recipe
Kitchen Frau: Egyptian Fava Beans and Feta
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Koshary
Sara’s Tasty Buds: Luqmet el qadi

This is also being shared with Foodies Read

10 thoughts on “Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall: Taameyya

  1. I love this Egyptian version using fava beans. Don’t you hate when you don’t enjoy a book? I always feel like I wasted so much time.


  2. When I read I usually grab a stack of books since many times the cover is slapped shut before I am ten pages in. It’s why I love the library- since there is no investment. At least when the book turned bad you had this delicious looking food to turn to.


  3. I participated a few times at the beginning of Eat the World, but liking to review a book at the same time, made it problematic, as I could find good food, but a good book set in the country was not so easy. At least you got a lovely recipe out of it.


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