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ALGERIAN CUISINE series: Introduction


بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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I've had a  great week here in my own home kitchen cooking and baking during this Spring Break. But it's also been so much fun to be out and about visiting nearby places in northern Algeria. I've also been throwing together a little series of posts dedicated to my readers. I did a little series last year if you remember  called Ramadan Ready where I talked about what Ramadan is to me,  how my family and I prepare for this most joyous event and I also threw in there some tips and tricks for making your Ramadan Kitchen almost effortless. So after it dawned on me that I have'nt really done any posts talking about Algerian cooking except this one about tools used in the Algerian kitchen. So I thought a few posts talking about the actual Algeria and its culinary traditions - not just recipes is in order. I feel Algerian cooking is way underrated, unappreciated and many times mistaken for Moroccan cooking. I think we, the cooks and lovers of Algerian cookery need to spread the word of this beautiful country's cuisine.

 So from now until Ramadan it's going to be all about Algerian cooking on The Teal Tadjine. J


 
Part 1 of this series: Guide to Algerian Cuisine Intro
Part 2 of this series: Guide to the Basics of Algerian Cuisine
Part 3 of this series: Guide to Algerian Pantry  
Part 4 of this series: Guide to Algerian Kitchen Tools 
Part 5 of this series: Algerian Eating Etiquette & Daily Algerian Eating Habits
Part 6 of this series:  Guide to Algerian Ramadan & Eids
Part 7 of this series: Algerian Culinary Dictionary 
Eating today is an adventure in taste and discovery as we explore cultures through food. 
The Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East are vast regions that have many 
familiar recipes, yet there are still so many to discover.

Visitors to the region of North Africa from ancient times as well as traders and colonists over the last 500 years brought their culinary heritage with them, thus it was absorbed into some of the North African culture.
The countries of the Mediterranean basin – Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia have a distinctive cuisine using exotic spices, seafood, couscous mixed with brightly coloured vegetables, meats and sometimes fruits.



The name of my blog The Teal Tadjine gets it's name from the North African tadjine (also spelled tagine or tajine). A tadjine is a traditional North African method of slow cooking using a tall coned shaped clay pot, which gives succulent results. And it's also a symbol of generousity, hospitality and sharing. And sharing food prepared with care and showing hospitality is a way of life here in Algeria. 

 

ALGERIA

Algeria  itself is divided into 2 parts - the narrow strip of fertile land along the Mediterranean coast called the Tell and the hot and arid desert called the Sahara desert. In ancient times,the Mediterranean coastal city of Algiers was the hub of trade and culture. Typically Mediterranean products – olives, grapes, figs, dates, pomegranates, melons, almonds and night shades are enjoyed throughout this fertile land. Rich creamy diary dairy products are produced from grazing flocks of cattle, sheep and goats.

The cuisine of Algeria is distinctive, ranging from highly sophisticated in the cities along the Mediterranean coastal Tell (where I live) to base of the Atlas Mountain countryside and  the arid Sahara desert.

 

TRADITIONS PASSED DOWN

The Algerian kitchen is sophisticated yet simple one, whose traditions date back thousands of years.  Only in Algeria are so many cooking techniques used. Dishes are always home-cooked and whose recipes have been handed down mother to daughter through the centuries. Measurements are flexible, and are usually made by handfuls, tea cups, calabashes and old tins.

Throughout the region cooking is performed predominantly by women. Cooking techniques are slow and sometimes laborious. Pounding of spices, fluffing of couscous, shelling of fava beans, the trimming of vegetables, and the preparation of aromatic stews – it's all from scratch. Even with the invention kitchen equipment such as food processors, blenders and steamers cooks still hold on to their culinary traditions with vigor.

I leave you here ... hopingly thirsty for more to come ... J


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