بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
First things first – THANK YOU for the overwhelming response to my comeback to blogging. As many of you who know me or follow me know, the last 2 years were very challenging for my family and I. I, especially due to issues with my health. But elhamdullah choukrou we were blessed with another new little addition, whom we've named Meriem.
A traditional sweet served to new mothers and to family, friends and neighbours to celebrate the birth of a child in Algeria is "Tamina". Tamina is an ultra semolina sweet that's made from toasted semolina, fragant orange blossom honey and fresh butter. This dessert is also served on Mouloud, the celebratory birthday of our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) as the 3 main ingredients represent semolina: sustenance, honey: sweetness of love for each other and the butter: rich blessings from our Creator. The traditional Tamina is made with fresh butter and honey, but due to ecomonical reasons many have replaced butter with margarine and honey with sugar syrup.
This dish is prepared in large quanities at the birth of child, as offering it to guests is an Algerian way of saying 'we have a newborn child, please celebrate with us'. Mothers and mother-n-laws of the new mother lovingly toasted vast amounts of semolina, in preparation for the massive crowds that will arrive to see the baby. Toasted semolina can stay for months, and thrown together last minute for when last minute, unexpected guests pop up.
Many will differe to how soft or hard tamina should be, but also what flavouring are best. In fact there are 4 different taminas from different regions of Algeria. Tamina el Ghars also called "Maakra" (in the South) "R'fiss Tmar" and in the Oran region "Kaabouche" is a version of tamina that uses toasted semolina, dates and butter. Halwa smid or Tamina Beïda translated as "white tamina" is preparing in the eastern region of Algeria and its based on lightly toasted semolina giving its white color, Tamina ellouz is prepared in Constatine. This preparation uses ground almonds, rose water, milk and honey. And finally the well known preparation that is made from Algiers to Chlef, tamina h'rour. Traditionally h'rour is a spice mixture that consists of cinnamon, ginger, galangal, nutmeg, allspice and cloves was used. Modern cooks have replaced it with cinnamon and even other flavourings such a helva turc, coconut and almonds.
Today, I'm presenting my family's favourite tamina is made the traditional way using only all natural ingredients,but also with the addition of halva turc and coconut. Tamina while super easy to make, does take some care patience as you do need to toast, not burn the semolina and also you need to correctly blend the ingredients to obtain the right consistency. I blend large and medium grain semolina is mixed, then very slowly toasted until deep golden colour. The toasting of the semolina releases the natural nuttiness of the grain. Soft, spoon coating tamina is preferred with us also. No runny tamina or hard tamina. It's also good to remember as the tamina cools, it hardens.
Tamina is also special in that the care that goes into decorating it almost is as important as the taste. Each cook makes their own decor uses various nuts, seeds, dried fruit or candies. For my daughter's tamina I decorated hers with 3 flowers, 2 large and 1 small representing us, the parents and her the little lovely flower.
The basic method is 2 measures semolina to every 1 measure butter and 1 measure honey. But below I've used actual measures to make it easier.