Journey to Algerian Cuisine

Algeria is the 11th largest country on the planet, positioned in northwestern Africa and spreads some 920,000 square miles. It gets its name from the capital city “Algiers” situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Algeria’s history goes back more than 1.8 million years. The indigenous individuals, called Berbers, had been pushed away from the coastline by their frequent invaders. She was occupied by the French in 1830 and solely gained independence July 5th of 1962. Algeria’s engaging neighbors embrace; Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Tunisia, Niger, Western Sahara and Morocco.

Algerian cuisine, known for its flavorful and sometimes spicy seasonings, takes it cues from the Berbers, Turks, Arabs, Spanish and French. Some Algerian essentials embody “ras el honout”, a North African spice combine that can include from eight to a hundred spices and varies by region. Other widespread spices embrace saffron, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cilantro or coriander, garlic, onion and mint.

Most of Algeria is an enormous expanse of drifting sands within the Saharan Desert. Eighty p.c of the inhabitants is Arab while the rest is Berber. The population is predominantly Muslim, so pork will not be consumed, neither is alcohol.

Couscous is considered the national dish of Algeria. In Arabic is it pronounced “Kuskusi”. It’s generally mistaken as a grain but it is really a pasta made with granules of durum wheat called semolina and water. The dough is pressed by a sieve to create tiny pellets. Making it from scratch is becoming a lost artwork, as it is simply found packaged. In Algeria they have a special cooking vessel called a Quadra el ta’am or a Couscousier. This special pot consists of compartments, the bottom section is used to cook the sauce, meat and vegetables. The higher portion is sort of a colander which permits the steam to permeate the couscous, infusing the flavors of the sauce and meat below.

Lamb is the meat most often consumed in Algeria. The most popular Algerian recipe is merguez, a special handmade spicy lamb sausage that originated along the Atlas Mountains and has worldwide notoriety.

Another cooking apparatus used is the tadjine, handmade in elements of Algeria. It’s used to cook their many specialties, especially in the western part of the country. The Algerian Sauce tadjine is completely different than the Moroccan tagines as it is a flat, clay griddle, used to make flat breads and even Algerian pancakes. They use decorative tagines that look just like the Moroccan versions however are glazed to showcase their vibrant culinary creations.