Algerian cuisine…..A Pinch Of History

Algeria is the largest country in Africa ( now that Sudan has been devided). in its long and fertile shores in the north , proud mountains in the interrior and endless desert in the south lives a cuisine that blended and fused with all anciant civilasations that enhabited its land.

Berber/Amazigh cuisine :

the berber way of cooking is very present in modern Algerian cuisine with its various dishes and deserts calling mainly for wheat, dates, beans , honey, clarified butter and semoulina……dishes like couscous, chakhchoukha , baghrir, braj, sfenj, mssemens are part and parcel of our celebrations and mornings.
the Berber way of cooking is unique as it combines both slow cooking of meat and vegetables and the steaming of couscous grains and other  handmade Algerian  pasta before combining both and get  scrumptuous and flaffy grains that marvel the gourmet and the hungry alike.

Andalusian influence:
After the fall of granada in 1492, thousands od Andalusian muslims and jews fled the Ibirean peninsula and established large cummunities on the other midetteranean shores but mainly in North Africa for obvious geographical reasons……
Andalusians brought new dimensions to the Algerian cuisine with a rich combinations of sweet and savory flavors, new spices and techniques…..
Tajine lahlou is the ultimate example of the Andalusian influence…….a sweet tajine composed of dry or fresh fruits ( prunes, apricot, raisins, apples, pears , quinces….), meat, spices , butter , honey and orange blossom water and is usually offered to guests as s sweet touch after a row of  savory dishes……it is also    prepared to mark the beggining of the wholy month of Ramadan symbolizing, hence, the hope for a sweet month ……..

Othoman Influence :

the Othoman presence in Algeria lasted for 3 centuries , beginning in 1551 when   khayredine and barberousse brothers  came to help the local population fight the European invasions and took an ubrupt end in 1830 with the french conquest of the country.

During this long period , the Koulughli ( the Turkish/Algerian population) and the eminent cooks of the various beys and deys of Algeria helped install a new urban cuisine that combined fine local ingredients with Turkish- brought recipes.
Nowdays, many Algerian dishes find their roots in the Othoman cuisine…….the ramadan table in Algeria is a typical example of the turkish influence , with its  various dolmas, boureks, turkish halwa, loukoum , mhalbi , baklawa …….to name few….

Ramadan table …..a window to Algerian cuisine :

Algerians truly believe and practice the saying of  » keeping the best for the last  » ……and by the last , I mean the wholly month of ramadan in which people enter a phase of contemplation and complete devotion to the almighty…. ,
during this month , muslims around the world carry  a special attachment to their ancestral cuisine . Algerians are no different.

Algerian ladies prepare a wide range of tajines, mixing and matching all types of meat, vegetables , dried and fresh fruits …..and of course a huge number of sweet delicacies .
if one would really want to discover the true Algerian cuisine ,one should visit an Algerian household during ramadhan where the cuisine goes back to its roots and noble and hidden dishes are cooked and passed down to a new generations ……
chorba, tajine lahlou, various dolmas, mhalbi, kalb elouz , mesfouf……..are among a long list of delicacies that characterize the Algerian table of ramadan……

Pied noire influence:

The year 1830 saw the beginning of the French colonialism of Algeria that would last more than one century and would change the face and the  fate of the country.

In an effort to populate Algeria with more European citizens, French Governement , encouraged   the  massive exodus of new Italian, Spanish and Maltese immigrants who came to Algeria in search  of a better life. The term  » pied noir  » was ,therefore, born  to mean  the black feet that reffered to the  boots of the new  European settlers in contrast with   the sandals  usually worn by the local populations

on the culinary level,  arabic and jewish sephardic cuisine of Algeria started to blend with the spanish, french and italian cooking , giving birth to a true mediterranean kitchen , called  » la cuisine pied noire »

It’s also  during this period that France discovered the couscous and taught it to the rest of the world…..

Algerian modern cuisine is very much influenced by this historical period of the country…..the french baguette became a staple food in Algeria along side the  » kesra » ….the various french pastry such as  the different  pies, mille feuille and choux are shown on daily basis on the window of Algerian bakeries…..

New pied noire appetisers and deserts  were born during this era  like the crepone’ ( lemon sorbet ) « the coca « an algerois finger food filled with grilled pepper tomato and onion and its bonois cousin  » les caldis » that used to be sold by the maltese immigrants….

Despite the departure of the European settlers in 1962 ( the year of the Algerian independance )  Algerian cuisine still caries an impact on the former pied noir people who continue to prepare  couscous , chakchouka and makroud to mark their cultural heritage…….


12 commentaires sur “Algerian cuisine…..A Pinch Of History

  1. kouky dit :

    Toutes mes chaleureuses félicitations pour ce blog plein de promesses et de gourmandises!Superbe introduction ! Merci de mettre ainsi à l honneur la gastronomie algérienne!!
    très bonne continuation!bises!

  2. nani dit :

    salam aleikoum

    vraiment contente que tu aies enfin ouvert un autre blog, j’aime beaucoup tes recettes que je réalise trés souvent, merci.

    j’aime beaucoup le nouvel aspect de ton blog avec l’histoire de l’Algérie culinaire (merci google pour la traduction lol), et hâte de voir tes nouvelles recettes inchallah.

    bisous et à trés bientôt inchallah.


  3. LILOUCHE20 dit :

    salut ma belle,
    bienvenue à toi sur le blogspher, ainsi que sur le CT. tu nous as manqué, je te souhaite une bonne continuation et un bon courage à trés bientôt bizzzzzz

  4. pétale dit :

    longue vie à ton nouveau blog ma chère Kaouther!

  5. khedidja dit :

    Alf alf mabrouk Kaouther, je suis très contente pour toi, tu fait vraiment honneur à la cuisine Algérienne .
    Je te souhaite une bonne continuation et longue vie à ton blog.
    Je t’embrasse très fort .

  6. Rachida dit :

    Super, je te souhaite bonne continuation et koulchi mabrouk

    Je vais mètre le lien de ton blog sur le forum de recettes du grand Maghreb et d’ailleurs, ça se complète lol

  7. Rachida dit :

    Voici le lien de l’article sur ton nouveau blog ma chère si tu veux faire un tour, ben je vous invite toutes à venir sur le forum de recette du grand Maghreb et d’ailleurs, merci
    Le lien :

  8. lamis dit :

    Bonjour, contente de ce nouveau blog in english, je vais tout de suite le faire savoir à la femme de mon oncle ( qui est anglaise), elle aime tant préparer des plats, gateaux et dessert algeriens. ça va lui faciliter les choses surtout avec les photos. Bonne continuation pour la suite.

  9. rosa dit :

    congratulations !! tous vous felicitent pour cette idee geniale de faire un blog anglais bravo pour l meme en photos les plats sont delicieux bravo mesdames les algeriennes pour votre savoir faireet merci de nous trasmettre cet heritage familial salam

  10. wawa dit :

    Its looks so delicious, I must try these quisines…

  11. wawa dit :

    Cuisines * sorry !!

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