Sabrina Middle Eastern Center, a sort of Middle Eastern general store and cafe tucked away on Culver City's main drag, is probably the only place in town serving an Egyptian breakfast that even Egyptians would love.
Laurice Boulos Haggar, who operates the cafe/grocery store, provides a full breakfast repast of ful medames , the national dish of Egypt (eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner) plus its accompaniments of olives, tomatoes and pickles. The name, ful medames , is from the Egyptian ful (pronounced fool), meaning beans; medames is the method of cooking them over low heat overnight. The pot in which the beans cook is called qedra , a narrow-mouthed, fat-bellied brass or copper urn.
At Sabrina, however, the beans used are actually canned from a recipe formulated by Haggar and packed under the Sabrina label. The breakfast comes also with an omelet made with basturma , the Middle Eastern dried beef from which the word pastrami originates, and falafel , which in Cairo is called tameya , served with all the pita bread you can eat. A sesame-molasses dip called asal wa tahina is an authentic sweet to round out the Egyptian breakfast with the finale: a tiny glass of traditional mint tea.
Sabrina Middle Eastern Center, 4325 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, (213) 398-2308. Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1/4 pound basturma (Middle Eastern pastrami)
2 tablespoons butter
6 to 8 eggs, beaten
Have basturma sliced thinly and cut into squares or strips. Melt butter in skillet. Add basturma and saute until basturma curls.
Season eggs to taste with salt and pepper. Add eggs all at once over basturma and stir, pushing cooked portion toward center as it cooks until omelet is set. Makes 6 servings.
2 cups dried garbanzo beans
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup olive or corn oil, about
Soak beans in water to cover overnight. Drain and rinse raw beans thoroughly.
Combine beans, cilantro, parsley, mint, green onions, garlic, cumin, red pepper and salt and pepper to taste in blender or food processor. Process until coarse paste is formed. Shape 1 tablespoon paste into 2-inch patties. Chill.
Heat oil in skillet. Add patties, few at time, and saute until browned on both sides, turning once. Continue to cook patties, adding oil as needed. Makes about 45 patties.