Algerian Food

Algerian food incorporates many spices and delicious pastries of Turkish and Arab origin, cumin, caraway and fennel are nearly global aromas also foundational to spicy cooking.

Algerian cooking is described as a fusion of many cuisines. With lemon, olives, and tumeric, which we used to replace saffron, and a dash of chili it made a fragrant, but not ‘burning hot’ spicy dish, blending Mediterranean elements like olives with a those of more spicy genres of cooking and resulting in cool, herby, aromatic spiciness. I found that the Algerian coriander chicken Djej B'l Qasbour for example to be one of the most delicious recipes I’ve tasted in quite a while.

For a dish with just a handful of ingredients, the taste is complex, showing the perfect attunement to the whole of each ingredient. It is a sensory record of Algeria’s deep culinary history, influenced by Berber, Arab, Turkish, Roman, Phoenician, French and Spanish food over the millennia. From the Berber comes the perfection in the texture of stews blending meat, vegetable, grain and fruit. 

Other areas of Algerian food and cooking incorporate more spices and delicious pastries of Turkish and Arab origin, cumin, caraway and fennel are nearly global aromas also foundational to spicy cooking. The French introduced the use of tomato puree, as well as herbs, and a rich palette of sweets. Coffee is African in origin (Ethiopia) but, eaten with sweet stuff, may have come via Turkish influence. Tea flavoured with mint is also a popular hot beverage.

Algerian Food

Algerian food and dishes from other  North African countries have become increasingly popular on the international stage, with numerous pastry and other fine food emporia in Montreal, Quebec Algeria-cuisine-food-forums and other global cities, and famous chefs in enlivening the culinary diaspora in places like Los Angeles.  Algerian-cuisine-LA

A variety of ingredients that are used in the Algerian cuisineA variety of ingredients that are used to prepare Algerian food.

Its presence on the internet and in cook books has has exploded in the last decade. This trend has also shown itself at home, and the market for soft covered Algerian cookery books in Algeria has skyrocketed, much to the disdain of the older generation of gourmands, who prefer to learn cooking methods passed down through the family, and memorised. Younger cooks are more willing to experiment and yet yearn to have the skill of their forebears. Algerian cookbooks

Meat is consumed with many meals. Mutton is the leader, followed by chicken, beef, fish and seafood. Merguez is the popular Berber sausage. Wild meats are considered a delicacy and consumed more rarely. Pork is forbidden, but wild boar can be bought from hunters. Couscous, made from course parts of durum wheat, or semolina, that is lightest and fluffiest when steamed, accompanies many meals, and all special occasions. Competing to enter the Guinness book of records for the biggest couscous tagine seems to be a North African pastime. Meals from morning to evening may be accompanied by  diverse flat breads such as kesra, aghroum, harsha or melloui which are eaten generally with saucier tagines (marqas), salads, soups or dips. Semolina flour is used to make pasta, fine warka pastry and breakfast pancakes. The food varies by region. The most common vegetables in Algerian cooking are potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, cabbage, eggplant and olives. The most popular spices are dried chilis, caraway, black pepper and cumin. Ras el hanout is a well known spice blend with many ingredients which are roasted and then ground. These vary from region to region, from rose hips to chili's, and are typically cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, white pepper, coriander, cayenne pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. A clay tagine vessel with its typically conical lid, may be used for cooking nearly anything, and produces especially unctuous slow cooked stews, which can be flavored with nuts and too rich for daily eating but are favored by tourists ! Algerians will more frequently have a lunch consisting of piquant salad mopped up with griddle cakes. Indigenous barbecue methods like mechoui are also popular for cooking meat. The hot climate favours the use of refreshing salads and gazpacho wikipedia-Algerian-cuisine

Berbers and Tuaregs identify on a regionally diverse continuum and their culture goes back to its roots in the megalithic burial mounds of neolithic times and the Libyco-Berber writing system, and their history includes one of history’s  greatest generals, Hannibal. During Roman times North Africa became the breadbasket of Rome. The term Berber is derived from the negative Roman term for non-Latin peoples: Barbarians.

Chef Zadi in Los Angeles describes the cooking of Algeria as sauce driven and favouring the precise control of moist heat, exemplified in the gdrah or couscoussiere, a couscous steamer. This allows couscous to steam to a light and fluffy consistency, in three shifts, which is not attained by boiling. The couscous steams above the Tagine in which the stew is cooking, saving on fuel. For this reason pressure cookers are also popular for making runnier stews. According to this expert on couscous preparation, Gordon Ramsay gets it wrong, boiling and spicing his couscous to the point of ‘overkill’.

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