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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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.

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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.

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Dolma (Algerian Stuffed Vegetables)

Dolma

Is Dolma an Algerian or Turkish recipe? That is the question Shakespeare. Surprisingly Shakespeare was around when the Turkish brought the Dolma recipe to Algeria under the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey the recipe is actually called Dolmak which means “to be stuffed”. Countless items can be turned into “Dolma” such as squid, cabbage, grape leaves and even chicken breast. Traditionally the Dolma is stuffed with a meat mixture and if it’s not it’s referred to as “Fake Dolmak” so don’t be that person that serves fake dolma!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup rice (presoaked for 10 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 zucchini chopped into thirds
  • 4-5 small potatoes
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups hot water

Directions:

  1. Start by preparing the vegetables. Zucchinis are always peeled in 3-4 sections as shown below. Then halved or cut into thirds depending on how big they are. Carefully hollow each vegetable. This takes some practice, start out slow!
  2. Then in a large bowl mix minced beef, rice, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  3. Fill vegetables with meat and roll what is left over into meatballs.
  4. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Sprinkle with salt to sweat onions.
  5. Add meatballs if any, and brown.
  6. Then coordinate vegetables so they all stand up.
  7. Slowly add 8 cups hot water, add salt and bring to a boil.
  8. After 1 minute of boiling lower heat to a simmer and cover pot.
  9. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. Garnish with parsley.

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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°.

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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.

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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.

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Vol au Vent Algérienne (Algerian Puff Pastry)

Vol au Vent Algérienne (Algerian Puff Pastry)

A classic French puff pastry filled with a creamy béchamel sauce spiced with an Algerian twist. These puff pastries make an amazing addition to any table but be careful as these are very rich in ingredients. It’s easy to eat one to many of these.

Ingredients:

  • 6 puff pastry shells (premade)
  • 1/2 pound minced beef
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 ounces cubed cheese (I use smoked gouda but any cheese is fine)
  • 4 ounces diced mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons smen (clarified butter but pure butter can be substituted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large pan melt smen/butter over medium-low heat, making sure to not burn it.
  2. Slowly sprinkle flour and whisk rapidly, creating a heavy sauce texture.
  3. Add milk and continue to whisk. Then add cheese to melt.
  4. In another pan brown beef and mushrooms.
  5. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
  6. Drain oil from beef.
  7. Once the cheese has melted into a “béchamel” sauce like texture pour over beef and set aside.
  8. Bake puff pastry shells.
  9. Remove tops from shells and fill with beef/cheese mixture.
  10. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Osbane de Poulet (Algerian Stuffed Chicken)

Osbane de Poulet

Osbane de Poulet is one of the very first dishes my husband ever prepared for me. It’s one of the many reasons why I fell in love with him. Not just because it tastes amazing, but because we share a passion for food. Yes, everyone loves to eat, but we could be eating and thinking about what we’ll eat tomorrow or even next week. It’s very common in a French household to do the same and since Algerians are heavily influenced by the French due to their colonization, this habit runs strong in the family.

This dish is fairly heavy and rich in flavor, I would suggest this dish to be paired with many vegetables. Meat stuffed into more meat, it’s an American dream.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large chicken breast
  • 8 ounces minced beef
  • 1 large onion grated
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • 6 ounces chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 ounces rice
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Soak rice for 10 minutes in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F
  3. Combine minced beef, chopped onion, parsley, rice, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Slice chicken to roll out flat.
  5. In the middle of breast fill with beef mixture about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. Roll the right side into the left and the left on top of the right.
  6. Secure together with toothpicks.
  7. If there is any leftover beef mixture roll into meatballs.
  8. Lay each breast into a baking dish.
  9. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. Layer on slices of tomato and onion.
  11. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil in a “A-Style Tent” and bake for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Let set for 10 minutes, remove toothpicks and serve. Best served with mashed potatoes.

*cooking times may differentiate due to location. always check that the meat is cook thoroughly.

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Techniques on filling chicken:

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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.

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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.