Chou-fleur Algérienne (Algerian Cauliflower in Red Sauce)

Cauliflower

With every recipe on my blog I have a vivid memory of the first time I have eaten or the first time I have prepared it. All of my food leave happy memories even when I make a mistake, just the laughter at the thought of “what the heck happened?” makes up for mess. This dish right here I remember my husband made for the first time and we sat down to watch Meet the Parents. He asked if that’s how it would be when he finally met my parents, and no it wasn’t! 😉 But I remember how every time he took out a piece of fried cauliflower from the boiling pan, I would secretly pop one in my mouth and he’d playfully get mad that there would be none left for the sauce. Just the cauliflower alone was amazing and paired with the sauce it was heavenly. I hope one day this recipe will leave you with just as happy memories.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 carrots cut into discs
  • 1 onion grated
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (my husband likes the sauce really red, add less if need be)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in grated onions and sprinkle with salt to slightly sweat. Then add tomatoes and garlic.
  3. Season with spices, once the tomatoes and onions have began to caramelize add the 3 cups of water and carrots.
  4. Bring to a boil for 1 minutes and then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  6. Set aside.
  7. In another pot bring enough water to a boil to cover cauliflower. Add in saffron and tablespoon of salt. (If saffron is not available you can use turmeric, it’s only used in the coloring not for any taste.)
  8. Boil only for 5 minutes!! (To reduce in the smell of cauliflower you can add a piece of bread that can be seen in the slide show. This step is not necessary but does help.)
  9. Remove from pot and blot dry.
  10. In a new pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat to fry cauliflower.
  11. In a bowl beat the eggs and mix in milk and chopped parsley.
  12. Dip the cauliflower in the egg wash and place in oil.
  13. Fry until golden brown.
  14. Blot with paper towel to drain excess oil.
  15. Add cauliflower into sauce.
  16. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Berkoukes (Algerian Couscous Stew)

Berkoukes (Algerian

Berkoukes is a traditional Berber dish made of a large couscous that is a hand rolled semolina pasta shaped like small balls or pellets. Of course throughout the country the recipes vary from the Kabylie region of the Atlas Mountains to the Capital of Algiers. Typically the recipes from Algiers are mild in flavor whereas in the mountains dried meats and fats are added for a much stronger flavor. Second after taste is how much sauce is in it. My husband always wants extra sauce, but for this dish not much is needed. Depending how you like it doesn’t make much difference, either add more water or not. Serve this dish on a cold winter’s night with a drizzle of olive oil and warm kesra or matlou3.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound meat (lamb, chicken, beef)
  • 1 1/2 cups berkoukes
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 cups hot water +/-
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown.
  3. Season and continue to brown.
  4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and slightly caramelize.
  5. Add chickpeas, carrots and potatoes, continue to brown.
  6. Then add cilantro and parsley, stir then add hot water, bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  7. Lower temperature and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Mix in zucchini and peas, simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Add 1 cup of water, and berkoukes cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Stir frequently and check to see if more water is needed as the berkoukes will absorb a lot of water. Garnish with parsley and harissa, serve with bread.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bourek Algéroise (Algerian Fried Meat Pastry)

Bourek Algéroise (Algerian Fried Meat Pastry)

As a Filipino I grew up preparing a similar dish to Bourek called Lumpia. It’s thin crispy layers of dough wrapped around a meat filling. It’s funny how a dish can be similarly made all around the world. But on the Mediterranean the dish has primarily the same name. You can order börek in Turkey, byrek in Albania, byorek in Armenia, boureki in Greece, bourekas in Israel, burek in the Balkans, and even brik in Tunisia. And you’ll end up with a delectable fried pastry. In Algeria the pastry is made with a circular wrapper called dioule but you can easily substitute them with Chinese spring roll wrappers as they are more readily available in the US.

Bourek is a staple on the Algerian table during Ramadan. Easily pair with chorba and serve with fresh lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced meat (beef, chicken, lamb)
  • 10-15 wrappers
  • cheese ( I use Salvadorian frying cheese, but cream cheese, laughing cow or even sliced cheese can be used, its up to your preference.
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pan saute onions, sprinkle with salt to help sweat them.
  2. Add minced meat and brown.
  3. Season with spices and add parsley.
  4. Thoroughly cook and set aside to cool.
  5. Once cool peel apart a wrapper and fill with about 2 tablespoons meat and a slice of cheese, again use your preference on cheese and how much you would like to use.
  6. Fold one side over, then the other.
  7. Begin rolling forward from the bottom and continue rolling until there is no more wrapper. You can seal with water or even egg wash but is not necessarily needed.
  8. Continue wrapping until all wrappers and meat mixture have been used.
  9. Then in a new pan heat up a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat and place bourek in pan.
  10. Fry until all sides are a golden brown.
  11. Garnish with more parsley and serve with lemon.

*You can prepare bourek in advance and freeze them. Just take them out 10 minute before frying to thaw.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Khobz el Dar (Algerian House Bread)

unnamed-9

This has to be my most favorite Algerian bread. It is so light and fluffy just like a cake. I remember waking up to the smell of fresh baked bread almost every morning when my husband’s family came to visit last year. I know I know, I’m the host and I should of been up before “Yemma” to bake bread but in the Algerian culture when your mother in law comes your kitchen is NO LONGER your kitchen. Khobz el Dar translate into “Bread of the House” and this recipe is literally the bread mascot for ours, lol. There’s quite a few ways to add variation to the bread. You can add nigelle seeds inside, but as Yemma made it she put it just on the outside and I have a tendency to make it like her. Why change perfection? am I right??? But also you can cover the bread with sesame seeds and even semolina. You just have to find out which one you like.

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 cups semolina flour
  • 8 ounces warm water +/-
  • 3 ounces oil
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons nigelle seeds
  1. In a large bowl mix semolina, flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. Create a well in the middle and add one beaten egg, oil and half of water.
  3. Slowly add water as you mix.
  4. Keep mixing until you have created a soft dough. You may need more water. Sprinkle dough with water opposed to pouring a certain amount.
  5. Knead for 30 minutes until smooth and elastic. Sprinkle water from time to time. If dough is too sticking just wet your hands and continue kneading.
  6. Create a ball with wet hands as it will help the dough not stick to your hands.
  7. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
  8. Divide in two and place in baking pan.
  9. Brush top of dough with egg yolk.
  10. Make design and sprinkle with nigelle seeds.
  11. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350°.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kseksou (Algerian Couscous)

Algerian Couscous

In Algeria there are many, MANY recipes to learn. But the one recipe every Algerian or anyone that is married to one or going to be, must know is…..COUSCOUS! Couscous itself is a grain made from semolina or durum wheat. But the dish “couscous” is the grain spooned over with a sauce of meat and vegetables. Yes you can prepare couscous without sauce for an easy breakfast with buttermilk on the side or sweeten it up with brown sugar and nuts as it’s eaten in Egypt.

Couscous is originally a Berber dish but has made its way around the Mediterranean. It’s actually been voted as France’s favorite dish. In the recent years the US is catching onto couscous as a healthy alternative for rice right next to quinoa and with that you can simply find the grain at your nearest Whole Foods, and even Walmart *gasps*, lol. But the catch is the traditional way of preparing couscous will not be on the label. This way is the way my husband taught me. The right way, made with love and sweat.

Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 2 pounds meat cubed (chicken, lamb or beef)
  • 3 carrots cut into 3 sections
  • 3 small potatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 zucchini cut into to demi circles
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tomato or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 3-4 leaves fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (my husband likes the sauce very red, you may use less.
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups water

Couscous:

  • 3 cups couscous grain
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Sauce:

  1. In your couscousiere heat the 4 tablespoons of olive over medium heat.
  2. Add meat and garlic and brown.
  3. Season with spices, salt, black pepper, paprika, ras el hanout, cayenne powder and cinnamon.
  4. Add tomato or tomato paste and caramelize.
  5. Add potatoes, carrots and chickpeas.
  6. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. During the 30 minutes you can prepare the couscous and steam over sauce or cook it completely.
  9. After the sauce has cooked for 30 minutes add zucchini and mint. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  10. Set aside.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Couscous:

  1. In a large bowl spread out couscous and pour in 1/2 cup of water.
  2. Mix thoroughly and then lightly drizzle with olive oil to make sure each grain does not stick. Mix until every grain is separated.
  3. Bring pot of water to boil and place couscous in steamer over boiling water. Steam for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove couscous and place back into bowl.
  5. Add half the stick of butter and let cool until you are able to handle the couscous.
  6. Mix butter and make sure that there are no clumps of couscous.
  7. Place back into steamer and steam for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Again remove couscous and place into bowl.
  9. Add remaining 1/2 stick of butter and let cool until you are able to handle the couscous.
  10. Mix butter and make sure that are no clumps of couscous.
  11. Place back into steamer and steam for the last time for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove couscous and place back into bowl.
  13. Salt to taste and make sure the couscous is clump-free and fluffy.
  14. Serve with sauce.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik or Jari as it is known in the western part of the country is the most requested soup during Ramadan. Chorba Frik is just one of those recipes that you MUST know if you are married to an Algerian or wanting to. It’s right up there next to Couscous, lol. No pressure though. This recipe is easy to follow and just as wonderful. From the smokiness from the frik to the tanginess of the cilantro, this recipe will be sure to tantalize your tastebuds. Pair this soup with bourek, bread and harissa.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lamb cubed (beef and or chicken can be substituted)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 zucchinis cut into demi circles
  • 2 potatoes quartered
  • 2 carrots cut into 3 sections
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup frik (cracked wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chick peas (soaked overnight)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • beef/chicken bouillon (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown quickly. Season with spices and add chickpeas.
  3. Add 1/2 of cilantro.
  4. Continue browning the meat and add the carrots and potatoes. Seer the vegetables slightly.
  5. Add the 8 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Lower heat to a simmer and continue for 15 minutes then add zucchini. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Remove vegetables into a separate bowl with 1 cup of broth.
  8. Emulsify vegetables until smooth with hand blender or crush with potato masher/fork.
  9. Place vegetable puree back into pot and add frik.
  10. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and add lemon juice. Adjust taste with salt.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chekchouka (Algerian Ratatouille)

Shakshouka

Chekchouka which means a mixture is a kind of tomatoey-egg ratatouille. It is a beloved summer dish in Algeria. As always, there are many variations of this dish not only in each region of Algeria but also in the neighboring countries, Morocco and Libya. But chekchouka actually originated in Tunisia, and has spread far wide to many countries in the maghreb region and even farther to Turkey, Israel and Yemen!

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 bell peppers sliced thick
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 4 garlic cloves diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium high heat, and add bell peppers skin down. You want to char the skin so it will be easy to peel off. (This step can be skipped, but peeling the skin by charring gives the dish a smoother and smoky taste.)
  2. Once the bell peppers have charred enough (3-5 minutes) remove and let cool. Then gently remove the skin with a knife by scraping.
  3. Heat a bit more olive oil again to the pan over medium heat and saute the onions. Add a teaspoon of salt to help sweat the onions.
  4. When the tomatoes have sweated transparent add in the garlic, making sure the garlic does not brown as it would result in a bitter aftertaste.
  5. Add tomatoes to create a sauce. Then once the tomatoes have been broken down add back in the bell peppers.
  6. At this time you will begin to spice the mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Adjust at will, my husband likes it a deep red in color and spicy, so please add more or less.
  7. Mix and continue cooking for 35-45 minutes. Simmer over medium-low heat.
  8. Crack open eggs over mixture, salt eggs lightly and cover.
  9. Once the eggs have been poached thoroughly serve with warm bread.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kesra (Algerian Semolina Flatbread)

Kesra (Algerian Semolina Bread)

Kesra or Khobz F’tir is a fast and easy everyday flatbread. Unlike its counterpart the traditional Khobz el Dar another semolina bread, which is baked, this bread is cooked on the stove and contains no flour. Traditionally the flatbread contains no yeast and this recipe has been adapted from my husband’s cousin, Maha, whom is very dear to me. With her recipe she has sent a new bread press which makes it easier to prepare the bread. Normally the older women would press the bread with their bare hands or covered in a cloth, to create a evenly cooked flatbread. The wooden press can easily be made from basic materials at your home improvement store.

Algerian Bread Press

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups semolina four
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup room temperature water +/- (may not need all of it)

Directions:

  1. Mix together semolina, salt and yeast.
  2. Add olive oil and continue to mix until a sand texture is created.
  3. Create a well with the dough and add most of the water. Depending where you are you may need more or less water. It is always best to use less and add more if needed.
  4. You want to create a firm dough consistency, making sure to not overwork the dough.
  5. Cover and let the dough rest for 25 minutes. The dough should not rise if not at all.
  6. Divide the dough into 2-3 sections and oil the surface where you will be rolling out the dough. As this dough is a semolina dough rather than a flour dough, you will use oil rather than flour to create a nonstick surface.
  7. Heat pan over the medium heat.
  8. Roll dough out into a disc of about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in thickness.
  9. Reduce heat to medium low and place the dough on the pan. This part is the trickiest as the dough is very delicate and does not maintain its shape. Try to slide your hand under and flip onto the other hand until your initial hand is under the dough like a spatula.
  10. Quickly mark the dough with a fork in any design. Marking the dough with a fork will ensure that the dough does not rise or puff as a pita bread would.
  11. Once dough has been half cooked on one side, flip bread with spatula.
  12. Press with wooden bread press and spin bread as you press.
  13. Flip bread and press with tool. Spinning bread as you press.
  14. Serve warm with jam, soup or anything you’d like.
  15. If serving at a later time, wrap in a cloth napkin also called a tarchoona.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Loubia (Algerian White Beans)

Loubia (Algerian White Beans)

Loubia, Loobia, Lubia!

Loubia is the Algerian comparable of American Chili, Texas Ranch Beans or even English Baked Beans. In Algeria this stew is served in a cassolette with a splash of vinegar, olive oil and of course fresh baked bread. The vinegar and olive oil help to balance the heaviness of this dish. Any vinegar other than apple cider is fine to serve with it. Some people like to have additional ground cumin, minced garlic and chilies to garnish their loubia, so depending on who you are serving it’s nice to have these on the table.

Traditionally haricot beans would be used but as I live in the U.S. we call them navy beans. Great Northern Beans can be used as well, but just any white bean in general is good to use. Also as I’m an American and we do love our beef I added  meatballs made of such. You can easily trade out the beef for lamb or even make it vegeterian. There are so many variations of what you can do with this. There’s even a soup called Chorba Loubia. Just add more water, potatoes and carrots. Perfect for a cold winter night.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions diced finely
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 pound navy beans (soaked)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl take your ground beef and season with garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly and form into 1 1/2 inch balls.
  3. Set aside.

Beans:

  1. In a pot heat olive oil and add onions.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and let the onions sweat until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and continue to saute onions and garlic. Make sure not to brown garlic as it will cause a bitter taste.
  4. Add meatballs and brown.
  5. Once all the meatballs are browned evenly add cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  6. Add beans and 6 cups hot water.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Add tomato paste and bouillon cube.
  9. Let boil for 1 minute, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 1 hour. Occasionally testing the firmness of the beans.
  10. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*soak beans the night prior to cooking.

French Peasant Bread

French Peasant Bread   The smell of fresh baked bread is something that I love having in my home, the look of happiness from my family as they sit down to devour it, I love even more. Bread in a home of an Algerian is a must have, spending hours on it not so much. Yes this recipe isn’t a traditional Algerian recipe but it sure is good. Requested by my husband and son all the time this recipe is fast and easy. Just enough crunch on the outside and soft in the middle this bread will be a delightful addition to any table.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar, salt and yeast into lukewarm water. Let it stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy. This will ensure the yeast is active.
  2. Add flour and begin mixing to create a rag like texture.
  3. Scrap from the sides any leftover residue and begin forming a ball.
  4. Knead dough for a few minutes and cover.
  5. Preheat oven to 300°F for 1 minute and turn off. Place bowl in oven to let rise.
  6. Let dough rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Punch dough down and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  9. Butter the bottom of pan that you will be baking the bread in.
  10. Place dough in pan and brush with egg wash.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  12. Let bread rest for 5 minutes and serve.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.