Overview of Algerian Cuisine History

The history of Algerian cuisine starts with the ancient history of African tribes, when grains, starch food and yams were the common basis of a meal. Algerian cuisine is also known as Maghrib cuisine, representing the region north of the Sahara desert and west of the Nile, including countries like Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. There are many similarities in these cuisines. The use of spices in ancient times as well as colonial times, was limited to rich people, or used only for big food fests. Some of the traditions are still kept from old history, influenced by Berber, Arab, Turkish, and French tastes, and can be seen in dishes like pastries and kebabs, pastas and sweets influenced by the ottomans. Spices used in ancient cuisine and still kept today are cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, mint, and fennel.

In 1830, along with the French invasion of the costal areas of Algeria, along the coast the cuisine was influenced by spices and cooking methods brought by Europeans. Baguettes and Cauliflower gratin are some of the heritage French left in Algerian lands.poo poo

Cuisines of Algeria

Map of Algeria

Map of Algeria- Click to enlarge

The cuisine of Algeria is part of the Maghrib cuisine, together with Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine. There are many regions in Algeria influenced by local populations, meals are prepared using different techniques and methods all over the country.

Most Algerian population is Muslim, so the alcoholic beverages are not a significant part of their diet, as well as Pork meat. However, goat, Lamb, Beef, Chicken and fish are often used for stews, stakes and barbeques.

Preparation Methods for Algerian Cooking

Preparation methods in Algerian cuisine include first of all the technique through which you have to blend condiments and spices for special Algerian meals. Some of the main spices are Ceylon cloves, grains of paradise, black pepper, chilies, coriander and cumin.cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, star anise, turmeric, ginger, allspice, green and black cardamom, wild fennel, long pepper, rose-buds,

Preserved meats and fruits are also a great thing in this cuisine, and special additives are combined with ingredients in the preparation process. Meat is usually dried and smoked with a lot of salt while fruits are dried and kept for some length of time.

A special preparation refers to a derivate of the Kesra, thick dense durum Wheat flat bread, with semolina flour and couscous. The kesra essit, the derivate flat bread, is a type of oil bread, made exactly like the original kesra, but replacing the water with olive oil. It is usually baked in clay ovens and flattened with wooden boards.poo poo

Special Equipment for Algerian Cooking

Special cooking equipment in Algerian cuisine refers primarily to wooden cutlery and cooking clay pots, placed over opened fire. Native Algerians in traditional garb prepare meals in huts over campfires, using the most basic pots and pans for delicious elaborate dishes. Ceramic dishes and plates with floral design are representative for the Algerian cuisine, and there are also wooden spatulas that are frequently used in the cooking process. When preparing an Algerian style meal, you will need:

  • couscoussier: or a pot with steamer insert.
  • a big pot: for stews and soups.
  • sauté pan: for spices and making sauces.
  • wooden or stainless steel bowl: for mixing.
  • rolling pin and a wooden board:if you plan on making your own bread.
  • Deep serving dishes: are required for the traditional Algerian soups and for the special fish stews.

You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature.

Algerian Food Traditions and Festivals

Some of the most important food traditions in Algerian cuisine are related to Ramadan, when special dishes are prepared. Jary, a thick lemony Wheat vegetarian soup is prepared for this occasion, and as a tradition, it is made with green herbs and mint as flavoring ingredients. Also, El Ham lahlou (sweet Lamb dish) is a specific traditional dish made for the last day of Ramadan. Food festivals are usually related to specific cultural dances, carnivals and street partying. Chanukah, the end of the secular year, is a celebration of the new crops, and is typically a family celebration, when baked leeks are prepared in large quantities. The festival lasts for a couple of days and involves music, folk dances and food prepared over campfires. There is also an Ethnic food festival in March, called the Yoav-Yehuda, when fruit stews and stuffed stew with intestines, artichokes, and anise are prepared and served.

People in Algerian Food

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Algerian food history and regional variations In the Algerian cuisine food is usually homemade, prepared by families for their members only. With frequent occasions, food is prepared and cooked in clay or iron recipients. However, Algerian chefs have a great sense of flavor, and they know the secrets to a delicious recipe. The many recipes and even more methods of preparing special traditional Algerian meals are basically due to the feeling that a chef adds to the cooking process. Combining available ingredients depends on the chef’s personal method, and can result in Algerian dishes that will become even more original and delicious than the already spectacular ones. The Algerian chefs take proud in their cooking skills and methods, and one of their many secrets lies in the variety of ways they mix special condiments like wild fennel, long pepper, cloves, grains of paradise, chilies, coriander and cumin and cassava flour. History behind cooking methods and influences has been kept secret from the large majority of people from other cultures.

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