Pedestrian Egyptian super foods: Part II


Termes (Lupines)

The vendor of lupines or termes as it is called in Arabic, stands with his colourful wooden cart upon which are stacked long paper coronets. With a little cup, he fills the coronets with the plump, little yellow pulses piled in a container in front of him.

Colourful wooden car (photo: Al Hilal)

In popular districts and wherever there is a bridge, bus-stop or crossroads in Egypt, you are sure to find the termes vendor.

Termes (Lupines) (photo: Al Araby)

Standing next to him might be other vendors selling foodstuffs known as ‘tasali’. Tasali is the Arabic word for amusement, and it comprises termes, watermelon seeds (lib) or peanuts.

seeds (lib) or peanuts (photo: 3bir)

But the unrivalled star among ‘tasali’ is termes.

Lupines or termes in Egypt (photo: Assafir)

Its consumption reaches an apogee in Sham El –Nessim, the Egyptians’ ancient feast with which they welcome the spring.

Old photo (photo: alaraby)

Termes is actually as old as Sham El Nessim. It has been drawn on temple walls, and the remains of termes have been discovered in ancient tombs.

Egyptians swear by its digestive and therapeutic qualities. Cheap and abundant, termes is also a highlight in the Small Feast that follows the Holy Month of Ramadan.  Compared to the heavy ‘kahk’ (cookies made of flour), distinctive of the small feast, termes comes as a light and welcome repast.

Termes comes as a light and welcome repast

A cup of termes is rich in protein and dietary fibre. It provides 18 per cent of the daily fibre intake recommended for women, and 12 per cent of that recommended for men.

It also provides folate and thiamin. Thiamin is essential for the regulation of carbohydrates and fat metabolism. Termes is packed with essential minerals like calcium and important vitamins like Vitamin B complex. It is recommended for maintaining cardio-vascular health and protecting the nervous system.

Low glycemic and filling, termes is also good for weight loss. One cup only contains 193 calories.

A note of caution: since termes is a legume that belongs to the bean family, people with an allergy against nuts should avoid it.

Termes in Egypt may be eaten ‘from the cart’ – or sold dry and prepared at home.

Many supermarkets sell it spiced, and ready to eat.

Here is a home recipe for cooking and preparing termes:


500 grams of dry (raw uncooked) termes

Dry (raw uncooked) termes (photo: Blogspot)

8 – 10 glasses of water for soaking overnight

6 cups of water in which to simmer the termes

3 full tablespoons of salt (or according to taste)

Juice of 5 large lemons

Wash the termes in a colander

Place termes in a deep pot and add the 8 – 10 cups of water

Let soak for 12 hours

Termes (photo: blogspot)

Wash and place in a pot

Cover with 5 – 6 cups of water

Put on moderate fire and bring to a boil for five minutes

Taste to make sure the termes is done

If it is not, leave for an additional three minutes or until done

Throw out the water and cool the termes

Put in a deep pot with 1.5 litres of water (5 – 6 cups) or until covered

Add salt and stir in the lemon juice

Leave until absorbed

Put in sterilized jars

Termes (photo: Blogspot)

Offer with lemon slices and red pepper flakes.