Algeria (Africa) – 31 October 2021

Algeria is located in the continent of Africa. It has the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Niger to the southeast, Mali and Mauritania to the southwest, Morocco to the west, and Spain to the northwest.

The Capital is Algiers.

The official languages are Arabic and Amazigh.

The climate is for the most part warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Temperatures range from 49F to 83F depending on where you are within the country.

The staples are kebabs, couscous, chickpeas, stew with vegetables, chicken, lamb, dates, figs, hard cheeses and many more delicious foods (https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/algeria/food-and-drink/#:~:text=Couscous%20(semolina%2Dlike%20pasta%20made,Algeria%20and%20throughout%20North%20Africa).&text=Chickpea%2Dcakes%20(usually%20added%20as,and%20tasty%20accompaniment%20for%20food).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Algeria

MAHJOUBA AND HARISSA SAUCE (https://www.mycookingjourney.com/mahjouba-algerian-crepes/):  

To Make the Dough:

  • 1-1/2 C Semolina flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP oil, plus more for greasing
  • Water, as needed to make the dough
  1. Combine the semolina flour and salt in a bowl and mix together.
  2. Slowly add water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes until it is elastic.
  3. Add 1 TBSP of oil and continue to knead. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.

To make the Mahjouba filling:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • One 14 oz. tomato, diced
  • ½ C carrot, finely grated
  • 2 or 3 green chilies, finely minced
  • 2 TBSP ketchup
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP oil
  1. Heat 1 TBSP of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the finely chopped onions and saute it until translucent.
  2. Now add the grated carrot and saute for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the green chilies along with the diced tomatoes and let it come to a boil.
  4. At this point, add the salt and pepper, along with ketchup and cumin powder. If the canned tomatoes already have salt, just add enough to taste.
  5. Simmer and let the mixture thicken. It will take 15 to 20 minutes to get the right consistency.
  6. Let the filling cool down before we start assembling the Mahjouba.

To Shape and cook the Mahjouba:

  1. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Coat each piece with oil and place it on a greased surface.
  2. Spread the ball with the heel of your hand to form a very thin circle.
  3. Stretch the edges and make it as thin as possible. The dough has to be well kneaded and rested so it does not tear much.
  4. Spread about 2 heaped TBSP of the filling in the center and fold the two opposite ends to meet at the center.
  5. Now fold the other two ends to come to the center and form an envelope.
  6. Heat a flat griddle and spray it with some oil.
  7. Place the shaped Mahjouba on the hot pan and cook it on both sides until golden brown.
  8. Repeat the same with the rest of the dough.
  9. Let it cool slightly and then serve

HARISSA SAUCE:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, and germ (green sprout) removed
  • ½ small red chili pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  1. Place garlic, chili pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper in a mortar; grind into a paste using a pestle. Pour olive oil and mix well.
Here are my Mahjouba. They are thicker than in Algeria, but they were still very delicious. Also the Harissa sauce over the top or with each bite added some amazing flavor. The aroma of the filling for the Mahjouba was fantastic!!!

COUSCOUS (this can be made from a box and flavor of your choice)

I made Pine Nut Couscous. It added such a level with the Mahjouba!!

BOUSSOU LA TMESSOU (Algerian Shortbread Cookies) (https://tarasmulticulturaltable.com/boussou-la-tmessou/):

  • 1-1/2 C plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • ¼ C powdered sugar
  • 9 TBSP unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 TBPS vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Coating:

  • 1/3 C orange blossom water
  • 1-1/4 C powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 320F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or leave ungreased.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer filled with a paddle attachment or a large bowl, combine the flour and ¼ C powdered sugar.
  3. Mix in the butter and vanilla sugar or extract until the butter is absorbed and the dough comes together.
  4. Break off a small piece of dough, a ball a little over an inch wide, and gently form it into a slight diamond. Make a small indentation on the top with your thumb and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing ½ inch apart.
  5. Bake in preheated oven just until the bottoms are barely golden, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature on baking sheet.
  6. Place the orange blossom water in a bowl and the powdered sugar in a bag.
  7. Quickly dip a cooled cookie into the orange blossom water, making sure to briefly coat all sides, then immediately cover in the powdered sugar.
  8. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (the texture is best when allowed to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving). Dust with additional powdered sugar if needed.
Here are my Boussou La Tmwssou (Algerian Shortbread Cookies). The Orange Blossom Water over the top added a great taste and after taste! I could have added more powdered sugar, but am fine without having the cookie caked with it.
Here was my overall meal! This was a great meal and did not take a whole lot of time. It had a great kick!!

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