This is one beloved Egyptian food that gives a lot of tourists pause, because of the misconception that pigeons are winged rats. The pigeons we cook here are raised and fed in specific towers, so not dissimilar to chicken. Taste-wise, if you like a duck, then there’s a big chance you’ll like pigeon too — go ahead, try it!
Stuffed pigeons (hamam mahshi) are filled with rice, or fereek (bulgar wheat). The filling mixture is usually spiced with cinnamon, nuts, cumin, onion, and pepper, and then the whole pigeon is grilled until the skin is a crispy golden-brown. Because the bird is so small, most restaurants will serve you two.
Egyptian Hamam Mahshi or stuffed squab have been served for centuries. Squab is a small pigeon that is loved by many cultures including the Egyptians. It is not uncommon to see mud-brick lofts which house the birds on the roofs all along the Nile. The birds were stuffed with an interesting grain called freekeh which is cracked green wheat that has a unique flavor almost nutty. (I found that at my local middle eastern store. Bulgur or rice could also be used. If you would like to order some freekeh.