From the fertile plains to the arid desert of Sahara, regions and climates make a pact each day under the Algerian sun to increase the wealth of the country. Thus, dates tasting of honey, the golden wheat of bread and couscous, the captivating fragrances of spices, and the bittersweet taste of the tea leaves awaken our senses to the oriental delights.
The Algerian cuisine still remembers the era of Caliphate Ottoman and his Turco-Persian recipes like the Kebabs (grilled meat) and his various ways of preparing semolina, a Berber heritage. But, it has not forgotten the Spanish influence on its cuisine, especially in Oran, where it is still a treat to taste the "mona" (a brioche flavoured with orange blossoms), commonly known as "mouna" by the Algerian French.
Then, there is Algiers, the capital of the country, where the sea breeze whistles through the prickly pear thickets and the forests scenting of eucalyptus. The honeyed light sets aglow the walls of "White Algiers", and faraway, the muffled sound of the Kasbah comes through, like a beating heart... Since dawn, the women are busy in the kitchens, which smell of the heady fragrances of cinnamon and cumin!
It is now time for the family lunch!
A meal for 4 persons
Chickpea Soup (starter)
- 250g diced mutton meat (a leg of mutton can be added)
- 200g precooked chickpeas
- 2 potatoes
- 1 small minced onion
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin and caraway
- salt and pepper
Brown the meat in oil together with the minced onion and spices then, add everything in a large stew pan.
Add the chickpeas and cover with water.
Bring to boil and add the diced potatoes and the tomato paste. Add salt and pepper.
Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Chicken with eggs au gratin (main dish)
- 4 pieces of chicken
- 6 eggs
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 100g Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- salt and pepper
Brown the chicken pieces in oil together with the onion. When they are golden on both sides, sprinkle with cinnamon and cumin, add salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
Put the preparation in an ovenproof dish then, break the eggs over the chicken, sprinkle with the grated cheese and cook au gratin for 10 to 15 minutes.
Semolina with honey (dessert)
- 200g semolina
- 1 glass of honey
- 50g butter
- a few pinches of cinnamon powder
Brown the semolina with the butter then add the honey.
Stir over a low heat and when the paste is compact, pour into small bowls and decorate with cinnamon powder.
Eat warm or cold.