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Tools of the Algerian kitchen




بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته



Umm Yunus on Facebook asked me about tools and essential ingrendients for the Algerian kitchen. The diversity of Algerian culture is vividly reflected in itscuisines. The dishes are cooked using traditional cookware and tools. So if you are thinking of setting up a working kitchen where you will preparing North African dishes on a regular basis, having a fully stocked pantry is essential. Itmeans you’re able to make  feasts,  packed full of earthy tones, scents, colours and flavours on the fly.  It also cuts down on grocery budgets (and the time you spend at the store). This is my list of essential pantry supplies to create beautifully balanced Algerian dishes.

Equipment of the Algerian kitchen:
Tagine
The traditional unglazed terra cotta Tagine, orginally from Morocco is sometimes used in the western regions of Algeria for cooking.  It consists of a bottom dish where the food is placed and a cone shaped lid. The  unusual conical lid vessel is designed to continous cycle of the condensation in the vessel. This helps obtain slow braised succulent meats, aromatic vegetables and thick sauces without the use of thickeners. Similar to the Tavvas of Cypriot cooking, the Tagine is an ancient cooking vessel. In modern times, the tagine are also made from cast iron.

Tadjine 
Unlike the Moroccan Tagine, the Algerian Tadjine is flat clay griddle that placed on a gas Tabouna and breads like Khoubz el DarKesra, or even the Algerian pancakes Maârek or  Beghrir are prepared on it. 


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Tabouna
Traditionally Tabounas were clay A Tabouna is a small gas cooktop that sits on the floor. And is used with gas bottles.


Diffuser
A Diffuser is a metal plate with a handle that protects Earthenwares from the heat and prevent the food from burns. It is used on gas stoves only.


Tadjine à four

Similar to the plat Tadjine used to bake on, this casserole style Tadjine can be placed in the oven for bread baking or cooking meats or stews.



Merhaz/Mortier et pilon Algérien
Mehraz or Mortier et pilon used in the Algerian kitchen is made from brass. It typically is used for grinding spices, nuts, herbs and making "dersa", a red pepper paste.

Moulinette/ Food Mill
A Moulinette is a food preparation tool used for mashing and pureeing soft foods. It consists of 3 parts: the bowl, the bottom blade plate and the crank handle. While more modern electrical appliances like the robocoupe/food processor have come along, many Algerian women still use this manual tool everyday.
 Couscousier/ Quadra el ta'am
One of the staples in the Algerian kitchen is couscous. The specialty pot used to cook the couscous in is called a "couscousier" or "quadra el ta'am". It consists of two compartments: the lower comparement serves as the vessel in which to cook the sauce, meat and vegetables for the couscous. And the upper insert is used for the steaming of the couscous. The vapours from the lower cooking vessel rise up to the peforated top insert, enabling the steaming of the couscous. You can also use the couscousier to steam rice or vegetable.




Aqbuc
The pot with a spout (called aqbuc, or abuqal agdur) is a container used for drinking water in the past. Medium-sized and large opening. This pot is especially remarkable for its handle that doubles as a spout. While the wide opening of the pot used for filling, its beak is used for drinking. Indeed, the people in the past used to drink from spout to avoid contaminating the water container. In the traditional Kabyle house, water is stored in a large jar. Is used, sometimes a pot spout to use its water. 
Guesâa/Djefna 
Guesâa (even spelled Gsâa), or referred to as a Djefna in some regions is a specialty very large but shallow, heavy wide mouthed mixing bowl unique to North Africa. It is either made of clay or wood. It used for kneading doughs, preparing couscous and sometimes serving large crowds.
 This dish was orginally made of clay by the Kabyle people. The heavy clay clay platter due to its fragility, evolved to be made of wood. And now the wood ones are widely preferred. Loggers cut large old trees and use their trunks to scuplt these dishes. of old cut up large trees and used their trunks to sculpt large dishes. In Kabylia, the wood used to make these dishes was that of ash (aslen) or hackberry (ibiqes). 
This dish can reach 70 to 80 centimeters in diameter, but when it is made ​​of clay, it can be molded to any size according to the needs of the housewife who uses it.
Tamis Ghorbel/Ch'tato.
Different types of sieves are used in the Algerian kitchen like the Ghobral and Ch'tato for flour and semolina. These sieves were made of wood or leather traditionally. But in modern times, are made of plastic or stainless steal metal. The Ghorbel has a large mesh lining. While the Ch'tato is a fine mesh lining.


Tbiga
The Tbiga is a rigid weaved basket made of Esparto ( halfa or doum in Derdja or "needle grass" in English) which is a native plant in North Africa which is often used for paper making and making cords, baskets and Espadrille shoes. The Tbiga protects bread and traditional cakes  from dust and pests. The Esparto is said to have a natural pest repellent.  The rigid basket can be found in large or small sizes. Flat or round with lids. With decorative leather trimming or plain.
Wooden spoon
A by-product of the lemon tree, Algerian lemon or olive tree branches that can no longer bear fruit are hand craved into these unique soft yellowish kitchen utensils. These simply gorgeous spoons are typically used for cooking, eating traditional soups like Chourba hamra, or serving honey. They come in many sizes. They may be plain like above or painted with decorative designs.





Cocotte minute /Pressure cooker
Cocotte minute or Pressure cooker is sealed vessel that does allow for the liquid or air escape below a pre-set pressure. It allows food to be cooked at a higher temperature and humidity, hence cooking foods faster.  The Cocotte has become an essential tool in the Algerian. But with that said, I myself rarely use the one I have, as I find the taste of the food changes.

Some decorative serving tools used in Algeria:
Decorative Tagine
Ceramic tagines are exquisite examples of North African artisanship. Decorative Moroccan style tagine are used in Algeria and are ideal to showcase your cooking creations. But beware these are glazed, hence cannot be cooked in






 Decorative plates and platters
These artisan hand crafted clay plates and platters also serve as the prefect vessel to display your Algerian cooking creations. 
Service d'table
Traditional Algerian serving sets include ones for couscous, soup and drinking. 


Assiettes à compartiments

Comparmental platters serve a function purpose for serving your Algerian and other Mediterranean style mezze dishes. And they can also serve as interesting table conversation pieces


L'berrad or Thérière Marocaine 
Algerians aare fond of drinking aromatic mint green tea, which is a refresher served for special occasions and guests. It is served in a teapot called a "L'berrad" or "Thérire Marocaine". It is made of tin, sliver or stainless steel. It has a long spout that helps form froth when the tea is poured from a high distance. The mint twigs are left to brew in the pot along with the green tea leaves and sugar, before serving.
Les Verres
The vessel that the mint green tea is served in Algeria, much like in Morocco or Tunisia are small shot style glasses, not cups like in many countries. They are colourfully decorated. And are the symbol of unequalled warm Algerian hospitality. The glasses generally are always small shot style glasses, but come in a wide range of colours, shapes and designs - from traditional to modern.  Some come with a saucer, like the Turkish style tea glasses. While others more traditional donnot. 

Plateau à Thé 
A rectangular or circular serving platter is also used when serving beverages or food in Algeria. Traditionally they were made of sliver and copper, but in modern times stainless steel, wood or plastic ones are used. 
Service d'eau
Traditional pitcher for water is still used in some regions in the West.

Sokoria

Traditional sliver sugar bowl.

And other common and widey used tools:





Sauce pan 
Fry pan 
Crépe pan
Large stock pot 



Silicon brush
Whisk

Silicon spatula



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