Egypt's rich rice: Roz Muammar

After a recent trip to Egypt, this time to cover the completely transparent and good-willed COP27 conference...(my real thoughts here), I spent a week to explore a new area by the sea and some old hangouts in Cairo

This time a new dish fell into my lap. Though I do vaguely remember eating a variation of it growing up, but not in this form. At the insistence of my cousin, we ordered this dish for a friend who was visiting the country for the first time, so trying to show her all the culinary wonders the country has to offer. 

Rice bling

They say if you've got it, flaunt it. That's pretty much what this dish is about. Roz me'ammar, also referred to as roz muammar means rice brought up to par in colloquial Egyptian dialect. The literal translation is rich. So a rich rice, or really rice living to its full potential thanks to its friends cream and milk.

The dish comes from the rich farming region of the Nile Delta, so the fertile area north of Cairo where the Nile eventually reaches the Mediterranean. Today, one of the most important crops it grows is rice. In fact, Egypt produces the most rice in North Africa using the Nile for irrigation. It produces enough rice for exportation and domestic use, making leaving the country 100% self-sufficient.

Although rice itself is not native to Egypt, it likely made its way into the country during the Greek occupation via expeditions of Alexander the Great, who imported the grain from India in the 4th century BC. 


The staple diet of Egyptian farmers has traditionally been simple, consisting of bread, aged cheeses, and pulses along with fresh vegetables. But rice has found its way into the mainstay of the rural household given it easy to store. 

But during moments of economic hardships, roz muammar began to make its appearance given it made use of simple ingredients most households have lying around the house, as most farms also keep cows: cream, rice, milk. A hit of this high-caloric dish probably does wonders when the daily diet starts to go get meagre. 

Today this dish is still cooked in the traditional clay pot, a beram, but is made for special occasions, such as a wedding.


The traditional dish is just rice and milk/cream. You can also use milk and butter, or just butter or just milk. Recent variations also include pieces of meat (beef, lamb, or chicken). But as I am a purist when it comes to making traditional dishes, this version is just rice, with thick cream and heavy cream. 

If you are lactose-intolerant, I would suggest staying from it or loading up on the lactase. 


Total cooking time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 persons


2 cups short-grain rice

1 cup of heavy cream (or milk)

5-6 tablespoons of cream

1 tablespoon of salt (or to taste)


1. Wash your rice! That means in warm water until the water runs clear.

2. In a clay dish (or any baking dish) add the washed rice.

3. Add heavy cream so that it just covers the rice.

4. Add the salt, mix, and taste. 

5. Add the cream on top (do not mix)

6. Place dish in oven at 200C (400F) for about 30-40 minutes.

7. Dish is ready once the top has a nice golden crust and the rice is fully cooked.


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