Egyptian pea stew is a simple yet sensational combination of everyday ingredients. You can make this simple yet tasty vegan recipe in 30 minutes or less using ingredients already in your pantry!
When it comes to crafting timeless recipes, simple, quality ingredients are key. And, this recipe for Egyptian pea stew is a prime example!
Popular throughout the Middle East, you will find a host of different regional spellings for Egyptian pea stew. They include but are not limited to: bisilla, basilla, bazella, basilla wa roz (peas and rice), and bisala wa gazar (peas and carrots).
This traditional Middle Eastern dish teams the unassuming pea with sauteed onion, garlic, and spices that burst with flavor in a thick, savory tomato broth. This vegetarian dish will fill you up without slowing you down!
Recently while traveling through Egypt I had this on several occasions, going back for more at the buffet line on the cruise we were on. I talked with the chef several times and we shared recipes. This is one of those. Enjoy!
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- Peas – Choose fresh or thawed from frozen peas. Canned peas will turn to mush and should not be used.
- Butter and Oil – Pairing butter and oil together, we get the best of both worlds. Butter delivers intense flavor while a high-quality vegetable oil increases the smoke point.
- Garlic & Onion – These MVPs have an earthy sweetness with a zesty, zingy, peppery punch.
- Cumin – Adds smoky, sultry, and surprisingly bright flavor.
- Coriander – Jazzes up the dish with lively, citrusy notes.
- Tomato Paste – A concentrated tomato extravaganza. You get all the goodness the tomato has to offer, from savory umami to tantalizing tang.
- Tomato Juice – Thins out the stew without watering it down while bringing an extra dose of acidic zing and freshness.
- Maggi Seasoning – Delivers a deep, intensely umami flavor to everything it touches. Check the international aisle or shop for it online. Close substitutes include tamari, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Kitchen bouquet.
HOW TO MAKE EGYPTIAN PEA STEW
1. Saute the Onion. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in the diced onion and saute for one minute before adding the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Stir in the spices and saute until the onions turn a light golden brown.
2. Cook the Rice. Get started cooking your Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli or whichever rice recipe you have chosen. Keep the rice separate until time to serve.
3. Combine Stew Ingredients. Add the tomato paste to the sauteed onions and spices. Cook for one minute, then stir in the tomato juice, water, and peas.
4. Stir & Simmer. Make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, bring the basila to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes as the sauce reduces and thickens.
5. Season & Serve. If desired, season with Maggi seasoning or other seasoning to taste. Serve hot over a plate of rice and vermicelli. Enjoy!
Bazella, the Arabic word for peas, is another term for Egyptian pea stew. In the world of Middle Eastern cuisine, it refers to a particular hearty, tomato-based stew.
The dish features peas along with sauteed onions, garlic, and a variety of other aromatic herbs and spices. Some versions contain meat, while others — like this Egyptian pea stew recipe — are completely vegan.
Traditionally, most versions of bisilla wa roz stay pretty close to the source. Peas are always included, along with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and usually cumin.
From there, each family recipe might have a slightly different spice blend, with some combination of cumin, coriander, chili pepper, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper.
The biggest difference between each bazella recipe is going to be whether or not meat is included. Some recipes include chunks of lamb or beef while just as many versions are vegetarian, like this one.
If you prefer a meat version, go ahead and incorporate some lamb, beef, or even chicken into the stew. Missing a few of your favorite veggies? Throw in some carrots, celery, kale, or whatever your veggie-loving heart desires.
Bisilla wa Roz translates to “peas with rice” and makes a light yet filling meal all on its own. For dinner, you can enjoy Egyptian pea stew as an entree or as a saucy side dish. Here are a few suggestions for inspiration.
Serve with Egyptian rice and vermicelli for another grain dish. Some top picks include Saffron Rice, Moroccan Couscous, and this Basmati Rice Pilaf.
Start your meal off with a salad like this Lebanese Fattoush or Chilled Moroccan Carrot Salad.
Pair your Egyptian pea stew with veggies like Steamed Carrots with Yogurt Dressing or these Crispy Roasted Potatoes.
Enjoy alongside Khubz (Arabic Pita Bread) and Fatteh (Crispy Pita Hummus and Yogurt).
Add a bit of protein and cook up some Beef and Lamb Koobideh, Kafta (Ground Beef Kabobs), or Lamb Shawarma.
Egyptian Pea Stew (Basilla wa Roz)
- Rice of choice Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli preferred.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Heat butter, oil and saute onion for a minute. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper and saute until onion is a light brown.
- Now start the rice (Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli).
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the tomato juice, water peas and stir everything thoroughly. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and thickened.
- Season to taste with optional Maggi Seasoning. Serve over rice and vermicelli.
- Maggi is one of those seasonings like soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce that adds a bit of umami flavor to whatever is is used on. Iodized Salt, Wheat Flour, Natural Dried Vegetables (Onion, Tomato, Garlic), Sugar, Corn Seasoning (Cornstarch,Salt), Herbs and Spices, (Turmeric, Cumin, Cardamom Powder, Cinnamon, Chili Powder, Ground Black Pepper, Parsley, Ground Bay Leaf, Clove Powder), Chicken Fat, Natural Identical Lime Flavor are known ingredients. You can substitute it with Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, or Tamari Sauce if you can’t find, or order it online.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.