Algerian cuisine has a long history. In it, with the spicy aromas of the East, the freshness and lightness of dishes typical for the European Mediterranean: France, Italy, Spain, coexist.

Characteristics of the national Algerian cuisine

The gastronomic traditions of a particular country are based on climatic conditions that make it possible to grow certain types of crops, as well as engage in animal husbandry.

Algeria is no exception. The slopes and foothills of the Atlas Mountains are pastures, olive, grape, orange, pistachio plantations, fields for sowing grain and vegetables. The Mediterranean Sea is a source of fish, shrimp and squid.

Most of the population is concentrated in the northern part of the country. It is located off the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the subtropics. The composition of the ingredients used in Algerian cuisine is influenced by products made in agricultural and livestock regions.

Algeria is a Muslim state whose religion does not allow the consumption of pork. This is another feature that gave the development of the livestock sector, which includes the breeding of sheep, goats, cows, as well as poultry farming.

Ramadan is of great importance for Algerians – a Muslim fast, which the faithful observe annually for a month. Some of the dishes are served for daily morning and evening fasting, while others are served on the festive table in honor of the end of Ramadan.

Particular attention is paid to the mutton, popular in Algeria, which is stewed in tajin and roasted over coals. On the days of important family celebrations, according to Muslim tradition, lambs are sacrificed, which are then roasted on a spit.

The prevailing geographic, climatic, historical and religious factors have shaped the character of Algerian cuisine. This is a variety of menus that include meat, fish and seafood, vegetables and cereals.

Historical background

The gastronomic history of the country has been replenished since ancient times. Numerous conquerors shared their culinary preferences with power, which later transformed into modern Algerian cuisine.

The Arab tribes who conquered the territories in which the Berbers lived – the indigenous population of the country in antiquity, introduced spices and spices into the cuisine. The Spaniards, who captured the cities located on the coast of Algeria, imported olives, oranges, and peaches.

The gastronomic traditions of the inhabitants of Algeria were influenced by Turkish rule and French colonization, which brought their accents to the country’s cuisine.

Kebab, shorba, shakshuka, oriental sweets are Turkish dishes that added to the gastronomic traditions of the country’s inhabitants during the period when Algeria was a province of the Ottoman Empire.

European features in the 19th century. brought in by the French colonists, who declared the northern part of the country the territory of France. During this period, in addition to the imposition of legal orders, European architecture buildings were erected in Algeria (the capital of the same name of the state), Oran, Bonn, Constantine and others, medical institutions, educational institutions, cafes and restaurants were opened.

The influence of France, which remained after the recognition of Algeria as an independent state, is not only European architecture and French, which is used on an equal basis with Arabic.

The legacy has become numerous pâtisserie (French confectionery) with an abundance of pastries on the streets of Algerian cities, bread in the form of traditional crispy baguettes, quality cheeses made from sheep and cow milk.

Shakshuka is a popular Algerian scrambled eggs with tomatoes ..

Cooking methods

Dishes of the national cuisine are spicy, often spicy, thick soups and stews of lamb, beef, poultry with the addition of potatoes, chickpeas, vegetables, olives. During the preparation process, the ingredients are stewed or languished in tagine for a long time, which allows the bouquet of spices included in the recipe to unfold.

Stewing and simmering are the main types of food processing used by Algerian housewives.

Meat, sea fish and grilled vegetables, kebabs, minced lamb sausages, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes are considered no less popular, but requiring male participation.

Main products and ingredients

The basis of the daily menu includes the following products:

  • cereals – wheat groats couscous, bulgur, rice;
  • legumes – chickpeas, lentils, peas;
  • vegetables – tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, celery, zucchini;
  • eggs;
  • mutton, goat, lamb, beef, poultry;
  • Fish and seafood.

Traditional Mediterranean ingredients are widely used in national cuisine: olives and olive oil, garlic, aromatic herbs, anchovies.

The rich taste is provided by the oriental spices and spices generously presented in the recipes: cumin, coriander, several types of pepper, anise, turmeric, saffron, cardamom, cloves, etc.

The living standards of Algerians vary, so not all families can include meat in their daily diet. The menu often consists of cereals, pasta, vegetables and bread.

Table setting and etiquette

Algeria is a religious country with the bulk of the population being Muslim. In large cities, residents are not so zealous in observing religious traditions.

Both men and women can gather at one table. Serving is also standard, but it is allowed to eat with the right hand or with a baguette. Such a meal will not be considered a bad form in Algeria.

In families living in villages, the tradition is preserved to dine in separate rooms, in the male or female quarters, respectively. In addition, the meal does not take place at the table, but on the carpeted floor. Eat with the right hand or with a spoon.

Traditional Algerian cuisine

Algerian gastronomic traditions are distinguished by an abundance of vegetable and meat dishes, sea fish and unusually aromatic oriental sweets. Depending on the region, certain products prevail in the menu, and traditional culinary recipes are complemented by nuances in preparation.

Harissa

A fiery pasty mixture of chili and garlic, to which spices, olives, mint, lemon juice, vinegar are added to taste. Harissa is served at the table setting, as it is considered a universal seasoning for many dishes.

Harissa is a pungent hot pepper mixture and is a condiment to other dishes.

Rest

Homemade noodles, the method of preparation of which is different from the traditional one. A special feature is cooking on a fragrant steam, which gives a lamb broth with chickpeas and turnips. Put the finished noodles with broth on a dish, add boiled meat with peas and vegetables, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.

Rashta – homemade noodles that are steamed.

Shakshuka

A light and hearty dish made with eggs, chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic. The ingredients are fried in a skillet, stirring occasionally. Spices are added to taste.

Kesra

Algerian bread made from semolina dough and water. Such cakes are fried in a hot cast-iron pan. Serve with soups, vegetable salads, cold drinks.

Kesra – semolina bread can be eaten with vegetable salads.

Masfuf

A traditional North African dish made from steamed couscous, with various additives including vegetables, legumes. For the sweet version, add nuts, dates, raisins, dried fruits. The dish is served at family celebrations, and in Ramadan it is eaten before dawn.

Khubz el dar

A type of Algerian bread made from chopped durum wheat – semolina. It goes well with meat stews.

Felfla

The salad is made from peppers and tomatoes baked in the oven. Finished vegetables are peeled, coarsely chopped and slightly heated in a pan, adding crushed garlic, spices, olive oil. Serve warm or cold.

Vegetable felflu can be eaten cold or hot.

Rfis

Algerian sweetness made from semolina and dates. The mass formed into small cakes is served with mint tea or coffee. To diversify the recipe and give personality, ground nuts, sesame seeds, spicy cloves or cinnamon are added when kneading in rfis.

Soup

The hearty soup, the recipe for which the Algerians acquired during the seizure of the country by the Ottoman Empire, has become a symbol of the national cuisine. The composition of the ingredients may differ, but the Algerian housewives keep the main set of products.

Traditional shorba is made from lamb stewed in a thick rich broth.

Tomato paste, freekeh, finely chopped cilantro and mint are added to the container during the cooking process. Vegetables and legumes are used as desired. Connoisseurs prefer a spicy taste, so they add chili or harissa.

The high-calorie shorba soup is traditionally made from lamb.

Shlada felfel

Light and fresh mix in Mediterranean traditions is prepared by analogy with the famous Nicoise salad. The included eggs make it nutritious, while herbs and anchovies add a savory flavor. This dish is popular in Algeria during the hot summer.

Makrud

Cookies in Algerian traditions are prepared on the basis of semolina. The composition includes ingredients that give a unique taste: figs or dates, which, together with honey, lemon juice and spices, cinnamon and cloves, turn cookies into makrud, which in Arabic means “diamond”. In Algeria, there are more than one recipe for this sweet.

Mackrud biscuits have a unique taste.

Dolma karnun

Mediterranean notes are expressed in a dish of artichokes filled with tender minced lamb with the addition of spices and parsley. Dolma carnun is served with boiled chickpeas, sprinkled with stewed sauce.

Meshui

Ruddy lamb, roasted on a spit for 3-4 hours, is periodically greased with a warmed mixture of olive and butter with the addition of spices and herbs. The aroma provides a bouquet of rosemary, thyme, saffron, curry, red and black pepper, garlic, cumin.

When serving in a dish with pre-cooked couscous, a slide is laid out cut into layers of fried meat, sprinkled with herbs and spices.

Lamb Meshui meat is fried on a skewer until golden brown.

El ham lalu

Festive food is served on the last day of Ramadan. Pieces of lamb are quickly fried until golden brown, and then simmered with almonds and cinnamon sticks, adding sugar. Shortly before readiness, they throw in prunes. The taste is spicy thanks to the sweetness of the ingredients.

Bussu latmessu

The biscuits come from the capital, made with lots of toasted sesame seeds. Filled with the freshness of citrus fruits, sprinkled with powdered sugar, crumbling latmessa melts in your mouth.

You’re grinning

A sweetness made from dough that is deep-fried and then soaked in honey and rolled in sesame seeds. Housewives shape baked goods in the shape of an elongated pigtail, rhombuses, or give the shape of a rose.

Deep-fried honey grivesh with sesame seeds.

Alcoholic

During a feast in Algeria, it is not customary to serve alcoholic beverages. This is due to the Muslim religion, which prohibits the use of alcohol by the faithful.

Non-alcoholic

Algerians are lovers of coffee served with pastries and oriental sweets.

Of the teas, mint is considered the most popular. It is served in small containers.

Algerians drink large quantities of milk and leben, a fermented milk product. The latter is usually consumed with a handful of dates before dawn in the holy month of Ramadan.

Carbonated fruit lemonade gazus is popular.

At each meal, a decanter of drinking water is served on the table. The tradition is followed both at home and in a cafe or restaurant.

Other traditional dishes of Algeria

Like all national cuisines, Algerian includes not only the dishes associated with the country.

Local residents also prepare other dishes in their daily menu, which include, for example:

  • Algerian pies stuffed with peppers, stewed with onions and tomatoes;
  • tajin zhelbana – veal stew stewed with potatoes, artichokes, chickpeas and carrots, with the addition of garlic, cilantro and other aromatic spices;
  • Makuda – potato pancakes, which are prepared both in their natural form and stuffed with cheese, minced meat or tuna.

The meal will always consist of a harmonious combination of products, complemented by aromatic spices. But when trying Algerian cuisine, one should take into account the addiction of local residents not only to the spicy, but also the spicy taste of food. True, such a nuance can be easily compensated for with oriental sweets, which are in abundance in Algeria.

Algerian cuisine recipes

With chicken and a pack of olives at your disposal, you can prepare a delicious and light Algerian dish with a Mediterranean flair. Pieces of poultry are fried in their own juice until golden brown, pitted olives and crushed garlic are introduced 15 minutes before readiness. Salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme are added. If you turn on the saffron, the sauce will take on an appetizing yellowish color.

To prepare a dish from beef and vegetables, take meat, cut into small pieces, fry in oil until golden brown. Then add the onion, chopped in half rings, and crushed garlic, peeled and finely chopped tomato, salt and spices to taste.

For the aroma, rosemary, black and red ground pepper, cumin, cumin are suitable. Cover the contents with green bean pods and simmer until tender (about an hour). The dish turns out to be hearty and light.