The Recipes and Foods of Algeria
Algeria is a North African country that lies on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The country is named after the city of Algiers which, itself, is named from the Arabic al-jaz'ir (literally 'the islands') and is named for the four islands that lie off the country's coast.
Along with Tunisia and Morocco it is part of the Maghreb region of North Africa and shares considerable culinary overlap with its two closest neighbors. As may be expected from a Mediterranean country fish and seafood form a significant portion of the diet, though the country's Berber history is also evident in its traditional lamb-based dishes.
Historically, Algerian cuisine is a melange of the various influences on the country and it's possible to see Berber, Arab, Turkish, and French traditions within this country's diverse cuisine.
Below are two classic Algerian dishes:
Algerian Fish Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion
3 garlic cloves
300g whole tomatoes (tinned)
1 tsp paprika (pinch of saffron
salt and black pepper to taste
2 large potatoes, cubed
3 celery sticks, diced
2l chicken stock
900g firm white fish cut into steaks
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the spices, potatoes, and broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the fish and continue to cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Allow the soup to cool a little, purée in a blender then return to the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes to heat thoroughly.
Serve in soup bowls garnished with chopped coriander.
Chicken and Olive Stew
900g chicken breasts, skinned and cubed
1 tbsp ghee (or butter)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp saffron, crumbled
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
225g Greek Kalamata olives, pitted
juice of 1 lemon
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Add the oil to a pan and use to cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Now stir-in the garlic and spices and fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure that the chicken is covered in the spices.
Add 250ml water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely tender. Finally stir-in the olives and lemon juice and simmer for a further 8 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and serve hot over couscous or rice.
I hope that article has given you a brief introduction to Algerian cuisine and that you know know keen to find out more about Algerian cookery.