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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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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