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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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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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.

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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M’thouem Sauce Blanche (Algerian Garlic Meatballs in White Sauce)

Algerian M'thouem

M’thouem or M’tewem is an Algerian dish specifically from Algiers. A  traditional dish during Ramadan; it is composed of meatballs, chickpeas and garlic. In Arabic the word “thouem” means garlic, hence the name M’thouem. The amount of garlic in this dish can be adjusted at will. There are many variations of this dish, as the sauce can be red or white and the chickpeas can be switched out with almonds or served with both. What you pair with it can vary as well, over couscous, or just with bread to soak up the sauce. Either way you serve it, I’m sure this dish will become a staple in your home soon.

Today I will be preparing M’thouem Sauce Blanche as it is my husband’s favorite way for it to be done.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced beef (93% lean is best)
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup almonds (blanched and split)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped finely (some people use a hold head, or you can use less)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine minced beef, bread crumbs, salt, cumin and black pepper.
  2. Roll into meatballs no larger than a quarter in circumference.
  3. Place meatballs on wax paper and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  4. In a pot heat olive oil and throw in onions. Sprinkle with salt and let sweat until translucent.
  5. Turning down the heat to medium low, add in garlic. Let sweat quickly making sure not to burn.
  6. Add meatballs to pot and let brown. Browning the meatballs will ensure that they will not fall apart in the sauce.
  7. Once meatballs have browned add chickpeas.
  8. Add hot water just covering the meatballs. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a beef bouillon cube if taste is not rich enough.
  10. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it do so for 30 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce in half.
  11. 10 minutes before serving add in the almonds.
  12. Serve with a nice crusty bread such as a baguette.

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