While I’m cooking: Algerian music videos

Here's an Algerian music video...the singer got in a lot of trouble for this and ended up fleeing to France: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfSBOByoz4M] Here's a video slideshow of Algerian people, places, foods, etc. Towards the end there are some beautiful pictures of the countryside. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5-pjLl7gFw] … [Read more...]

Going shopping at the Middle East Market

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"Dang it." I muttered. After driving across Tulsa, fighting construction and traffic, I was staring at the dark "open" sign of Middle East Market (5459 S Mingo Rd, Tulsa, OK 74146). I looked at the hours of operation; they were supposed to be open another four hours! Squinting my eyes, I peered through the tinted windows. Were those lights on? Holding my breath, I pulled on the door handle.  The door opened and a cheerful bell announced my entrance. "I thought you were closed," I … [Read more...]

Recipe: Harissa Chili Paste (or Harisa)

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Harissa (also Harisa) is chili paste used to flavor many north african dishes, specifically in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and western Sicily. The condiment can be made mild, medium, or hot. For those who don't feel like making Harissa from scratch, middle eastern markets sell the paste in cans. Whole Foods sells Harissa in the spice aisle (you just add water and olive oil to make the dry mix into a paste). The main components of Harissa: 2 ounces dried Guajillo chili peppers, soaked … [Read more...]

Menu: Algeria

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This menu represents what I found most exciting about Algerian food: the flavors are intense, the spices are hot, and the foods are a blend of the proverbial melting pot. Hummus bi'l Kammun (Chickpea Soup) [Recipe] Pureed chickpeas laced with garlic, cumin, paprika, and harisa. Algerian Sunset Salad [Recipe] Blood oranges, fresh fennel, black olives, and mint make up this unusual salad. Hot Algerian Lasagna (Shakhshukha al-Bisakra) [Recipe] This lasagna contains ground lamb … [Read more...]

About Algerian Food: Sand, ho! Algeria

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Look left. Sand. Look right. More sand. Yep, you guessed correctly. There's a whole lot of desert in Algeria. In fact, 80% of Algeria is covered by the Sahara Desert, forcing most of the population to live to the north, along the Mediterranean coast (source). The surplus of sand must have inspired the national dish: couscous (couscous is also the national dish of Morocco and Tunisia). Couscous is a very fine pasta shaped just like, well, grains of sand. A warm bed of … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Albania

This week Albanian Vegetables were my favorite

This is Meal #2 in my personal challenge: to eat one meal from every country in the world. I'll be honest with you. I spent most of Saturday feeling a bit put out.  I rummaged through my spice drawer for nothing in particular. I picked up and put down a head of garlic at least 5 times. Cooking with just one herb or spice per dish felt very, well, foreign to me.  None of these dishes even had garlic in them. Exercising restraint was not easy but, as we all know, this is what I am here … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tava Elbasani (Lamb Baked in Yogurt)

Lamb in Yogurt

  Serves 4-6 Although this dish is simple, the tender lamb and tangy yogurt are very satisfying on a cold winter's day.  Use Hungarian Paprika to give the dish mild heat. Ingredients: 3 lbs lamb, cut into 10 pieces 2 cups cooking water from lamb 2 Tbsp butter 2 Tbsp flour 4 eggs 3 cups greek yogurt 1 tbsp white rice 1 tsp red pepper (paprika) salt Method: 1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sear the lamb on all sides. Do not crowd. You may have to sear … [Read more...]

Recipe: Llokume (Turkish Delight)

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Makes approximately 50 pieces Llokume was popularized in Eastern Europe and North Africa during the Ottoman empire. This recipe makes enough Turkish Delight to share. Bring the confection to a special friend or a party, and you will learn why Albanians are just one of many cultures that find this dessert delightful. Ingredients: For the candy: 4 cups granulated sugar 1 Tbsp real lemon juice 1 1/2 cup water, plus an additional 2 3/4 cups 1 cup cornstarch 1 tsp cream of … [Read more...]