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.

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Khobz el Dar (Algerian House Bread)

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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°.

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Djedj Bezzitoun (Algerian Chicken and Olives)

Chicken Tadjine

Chicken and olives is the very first “tadjine” recipe I ever learned and of course being in the States I learned without a tadjine. It isn’t necessary to cook this dish in one, but it is used traditionally. This dish is usually called a tadjine throughout the country and is served in one but in the city of Algiers it’s just called chicken and olives, no tadjine required. This dish is paired great with bread as is everything in the Algerian cuisine. You can use any cut of chicken but my husband’s favorite is the leg and mine is the thigh since those are the tastiest parts of meat. Whatever it is you have on hand would surely do the job wonderfully.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sliced onions
  • 3 pounds chicken (whichever cut you like)
  • 6 ounces green olives
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add sliced onions and sprinkle with salt to help sweat.
  3. Add chicken, season with cumin, cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper.
  4. Brown chicken slightly.
  5. Add water to just cover the chicken.
  6. In a clean cup warm a half cup of water and add the tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisking fast to ensure there will not be any clumps of cornstarch.
  7. Add mixture to pot.
  8. Simmer for 30-45 minutes add olives and mushrooms. Continue for an additional 5 minutes.

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*As with every recipe that comes translated from Algeria there is a lack of boullion. The meat is very different there than in the States, so if your dish is lacking “richness” in flavor please add a chicken bouillon.

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

Far across the Mediterranean sea is a country called Greece that invented the Pita bread. But many countries along the sea and far across the desert have their take on it as well. Algeria does not have a recipe for pita bread but have many variations such as Kesra or M’semen. The Algerian flat breads could have been easily influenced by the Turks as the country was under the Ottoman Empire for nearly 300 years. In Turkey their variation of pita bread is called pide and you can see the Turkish influence all throughout Algeria in the architecture, food and city names. So it is easy to assume where some Algerian recipes have come from.

For the longest time Pita bread was the only bread that my son would eat. The soft and chewiness of the bread wrapped around a kebab or dipped in hummus. It could have anything and he would eat it. This bread is easily paired with olives or hummus as a snack, wrapped around a kebab at a barbecue, stuffed as a sandwich for on the go, or with any dish in between. Depending on how thick you roll the dough out will decipher how the bread will come out. Roll thinly and let puff completely to split and make a sandwich out of, or roll thick to dip with. Either way you roll it, this bread will be a hit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Dough:

  1. In a large bowl mix the water and yeast together. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and flour.
  3. Mix together to form a small ball.
  4. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking, use sparingly.
  6. With the remaining olive oil drizzle into a clean bowl, and set dough in.
  7. Cover the outside of dough with oil.

Bread:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F for 1 minute and turn off.
  2. Cover bowl and let rise in oven for 1 hour.
  3. Punch the dough down and split into 6-8 even pieces (6 if you want thick pita or 8 if you would like to use them thin)
  4. Roll each piece onto a floured surface into discs of a 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Between rolling out dough, wipe a flat pan with a napkin saturated in olive oil.
  6. Turn the stove onto a medium heat.
  7. Once the pan is hot enough place dough on pan and wait for it to puff up with bubbles.
  8. Flip bread making sure to not burn one side from the other (1-2 minutes each side)
  9. Cover with a clean cloth.

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*you can stop at step 9 after the dough rises and refrigerate dough. or you can split the dough into 6-8 pieces, roll flat and stack with parchment paper in between for future use. dough can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 1 month. always best served fresh.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Bourek Laadjine (Algerian Hand Pies)

IMG_3695

Bourek Laadjine is a variety of Algerian savory pastries that is primarily made of bread rather than the traditional thin sheets of wrappers, hence the name that translates into bourek with dough. It can be served as an appetizer or with chorba. It is perfect during the month of Ramadan since it can be prepared and frozen in advance or right before serving. They are very similar to the South American empanadas and the filling can vary from meat, eggs or even just cheese.Also the dough can be fried or baked, the recipe can be changed easily to your tastes. Whatever your family likes, these will sure to be a treat.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 egg, beaten

Filling

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Dough:

  1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add milk to warm water, mix.
  3. Slowly add water/milk mixture to bowl. All may not be needed.
  4. Mix until a rag consistency is made.
  5. Add a bit more water and start to knead. You want the dough to be slightly sticky.
  6. Once the dough has been kneaded, place into a floured bowl.
  7. Preheat oven to 300 for 1 minute.
  8. Turn off and place dough in oven for 1 hour to rise.

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Filling:

  1. In a pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onion and sprinkle salt over to help sweat.
  2. Once the onion have become partly translucent add tomatoes. Saute until the onions have become clear and tomatoes have broken down. Cover.
  3. Add spinach, allow to break down then add mushrooms.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  5. Continue to saute for a few more minutes then remove from heat.
  6. In another pan brown and season meat with salt, pepper, cinnamon and cumin.
  7. Add the vegetables into the meat and mix thoroughly.
  8. Let cool completely before forming.

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Forming:

  1. Roll a golf ball sized piece of dough on to a lightly floured surface with a thickness of about 4mm. It doesn’t have to be perfect but the diameter should be able to cover 2 spoonfuls of filling.
  2. Fill with filling and fold over sides and roll in top and bottoms crimping as you turn them over.
  3. Place onto parchment paper and continue forming until you have run out of dough and filling. You should be able to make 8 hand pies with the dough.
  4. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  6. Brush pies with beaten egg.
  7. Sprinkle salt on top.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.

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