Misteka’s Short Story

We like to tell our story to every one!

Though “Mediterranean” food is available in abundance, nothing really tasted like home, Egypt. This is how Koshary by Misteka (check what the names means “koshary” & “Misteka“) was born.

Misteka Foods started as a Mediterranean inspired brand looking to share authentic delicious flavors with the Baltimore-Washington area. An area so vibrant, multi-cultured and so diverse in every way, including taste, views and beliefs. DC taught us A LOT about food trends, proper nutrition and food fads, but Charm City is where our journey took a detour because Charm City felt, tasted and smelled so much like my beloved home.

Cairo, A beautiful city so full of Untapped potential. A city with many faces, beautiful and ugly, but none more startling than the face of hunger. The scarcity of good food in some areas of Charm City forced us to make a stop and wonder if we are doing enough. At Misteka We’ve always wanted to be purposeful. We’ve always dreamt of creating a ripple effect of goodness. Baltimore showed us the way.

Meaning Of Koshary

Koshary, Pronounced Ko-sha-ry, Egypt’s national dish.

A grain bowl high in plant-based protein and fiber made out of rice, lentils, pasta, chickpeas, signature sauce and fried onions. We wanted everyone to enjoy this meal so we made sure it’s 100% vegan and gluten free.

Koshary originated in India as a rice and lentils bowl. It then Traveled to England where it was enjoyed as a breakfast meal. Eventually it landed in Egypt with the British occupation in the 19th century where it became a power house meal that locals line up to at every corner. Next to the signature dish we will be serving some very popular Egyptian food items including falafel (Ta’meya).

Meaning Of Misteka

Misteka is the name of our company!

Misteka is Arabic for the spice Mastic Gum, a resin sourced from the trunk of evergreen shrubs belonging to the pistachio family that grows on the Greek island of Chios. The spice is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Misteka has been traditionally used in the Mediterranean as a natural remedy for a wide range of conditions, such as acid reflux, gastritis, fungal infections, heartburn, high cholesterol, indigestion, inflammatory bowel disease, respiratory problems, gum health, and ulcers.

When the resin starts to flow out of tree trunks it starts forming “teardrops.” The drops solidify when they hit the air. After about 15 to 30 days the mastic resin becomes totally crystallized. Once the resin has crystallized, it can be chewed as a gum.

When you first start chewing the mastic gum resin, it has a bitter taste (which admittedly can take some getting used to). After chewing for a while, the bitterness goes away and you have only an aroma. Alternatively, mastic gum can be ground into a powder then used in sweet and savory dishes.

Why is mastic gum sometimes called Arabic gum if it is grown in Greece? The reason is that researchers in the Arabic world were the first in modern times to re-discover the health benefits of mastic.

It was during the 1980s that researchers in Iraq (yes, Iraq used to be a highly-developed country!) discovered that mastic gum has anti-ulcer properties and people in the Middle East started using it.

As the use of mastic gum started to spread, people referred to it as “Arabic gum.” Note that mastic gum should not be confused with gum Arabic, which is resin from the acacia tree. This is a substitute and will NOT provide the same benefits as true Chios mastic!

Now, why did we choose this name? Because it goes into some of our favorite dishes and it simply smells, tastes and feels like home, The Mediterranean!

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