Kefta aux epinards/ Algerian spinach meatballs

Dolma besalq…..or Algerian spinach/chard meatball tajine   is an easy way of turning your regular meatball dish into something more sophisticated and great trick of sneaking vegies into your picky kids menu.

A family heritage that my mom and grand ma  used to prepare  during winter when spinach and chard are abandant….
Like all Algerians, we always accompagny the sort of gravy-like dishes  with bread, but rice  can be excellent alternative as well. You may  also « Italianize’  the dish by adding parmesan cheese  to the meat mixture, and serve it with pasta.

Give it a try,  sure you will like it as did my friend kouky – click-Silvi ( click),and souhila ( click)  who cleverly used the spinach meat mixture to prepare her cannolleni. I have yet to try this version

dolma salq.jpg2
About 400gr of minced  mutton or beef
A big bunch of fresh spinach , thoughrouly washed , drained and chopped, or
a paquet of frozen , chopped spinach, thawed and drained of all liquid.
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic , smashed
1 egg,
Salt, pepper, paprika, Cumin to taste
Tomato sauce:
1 chopped onion
3  cloves  smashed garlic
Salt pepper
1 to 2  tomato paste


Saute’ chopped spinach in olive oil, let  cool

Combine  minced meat with onion, egg, , garlic  and spices . Add in the cooled spinach. Mix all ingredients  until thoroughly combined.

Oil your hands before Rolling the mixture into small meatballs. Set aside.

Tomato sauce:
In a large pot, heat chopped onion ,  add minced garlic and spices . Dilute the tomato paste into some water, add in to the pot, Reduce heat to low, drop,  meatballs into the sauce and simmer for 15 mn.
Correct seasoning by adding a bit of crashed Chicken or meat cube. Add a knob of butter if desired.
Decorate with minced parsely and lemon wedges . Serve hot with Algerian bread for an authentic meal,  french baguette or even rice or pasta



……..une recette qu’on faisait chez moi en hiver quand les epinards et les blettes sont en abandance…….

la dolma / la kefta besalq est un delicieux plat , facile ,  rapide a preparer et ideal pour faire manger les epinards et les blettes aux enfants.

le resultat est delicieux et le gout d’epinard n’est pas tres prononce’. je vous  conseille vivement ce tajine et suis sure que vous l’aimerez  comme bon nombre de mes lectrices et amis bloggueuses qui ont essaye’ le plat quand je l’avais publie’ sur mon ancien blog.

je cite a titre d’example, mon amie kouky ( ) silvi () et souhila () qui avait utliise’ le melange pour farcir ses cannellonis.



350 a 400g   de viande hachee’
une botte d’epinards ou de blette lavee’ et hachee’ ou bien un petit paquet d’epinard congele’ ,prealablement hache’.
un oignon
3 gousses d’ail
sel, poivre, cumin, paprika
un petit oeuf pour lier.

un oignon hachee’
3 gousses d’ail
huile d’olive
sel, poivre,
1 cas pleine de concentre’ de tomate


faire revenir les epinards ds l’huile d’olive. laisser tiedir

Les ajouter a l’aviande hachee’ puis le reste des ingredients.
preparer la sauce tomate , en faisant revenir, l’oignon et les gousses d’ail avec un filet d’uile d’olive, ajouter le sel et le poivre ou bien les epices de votre choix, ( j’ai mis un quart de cube de bouillon)  la tomate dilluee’ ds un peu d’eau chaude. des que ca commence a bouillir, enduire les pains d’huile, former des boulettes  et les ajouter a la sauce . diminuer le feu et laisser cuire. eteindre quand la sauce devient onctueuse. ajouter une noisette de beurre ( facultatif) .



Tea-time gatherings with An Algerian twist

Hello/ salam out there
How are you doing? Hope every one has spent great holidays and Eid
I apologize for not being much on line the last couple of months.
It was the children long holiday break in my part of the world, and I didn’t have time and energy to blog, as I was busy spending quality time with them .
But this didn’t stop  me from cooking and baking…I have so   many recipes and pictures  waiting to be to shared  ,so  just stay tuned… 
and  let’s go straight to the core of today’s post…..

Through the past few months, my family and  friends shared with me some pictures of different gatherings on diverse occasions, so I thought about sharing with you some elements of Algerian tea-time culture .

Do you have any idea  about how a typical Algerian  tea time gathering  woud Look like, or mean  ?



One of the most important social gatherings  in Algeria  is the daily session of tea or coffee it firmly bonds the family and friendship ties and get people  to chat, lough or gossip about life hilghlights.

Yasmina khadra( Algerian novelist of French expression) and Ahlam mostghanmy ( Algerian novelist of Arabic expression) sum up the importance of tea time gathring in Algeria …..

« Nous ne sommes pas paresseux. Nous prenons le temps de vivre ,ce qui n’est pas le cas des occidentaux. pour eux, le temps, c’est de l’argent, pour nous, le temps n’a pas de prix. un verre de the’ suffit a notre bonheur, alors quaucun bonheur ne leur suffit. toute la difference est la, mon garcon.. » YASMINA KHADRA….. extrait du roman  » Ce que le jour doit a la nuit »

لتعود بعد لحظات, بصينية قهوة نحاسيه كبيرة عليها إبريق، وفناجين, وسكريه, ومرشّ لماء الزهر, وصحن للحلويات
في مدن أخرى تقدم القهوة جاهزة في فنجان, وضعت جواره مسبقاً معلقه وقطعة سكر
ولكن قسنطينة مدينه تكره الإيجاز في كل شيء .

Ahlam mostghanmy,extract of ….. « dhakirat jassad »   / »memory of a body »

unlike middleastern and Turkish traditionion  where savoury pastries and fingerfood can be served   during social gatherings, 
Algerians ( and North African in general),  are   great sugar addict…. the key  ingredients for their morning and afternoon treats  are sugar, honey, butter and  a large variety  of  sweet pastries , either of  Algerian origin  like traditional cookies and pastries or of  French origin  such as les tartelettes, millefeuille, etc….

Here are few examples of Algerian traditional delicacies, usually served with a mixture of honey /sugar and butter

Mchelwech: click  HERE  for the recipie  


Mssemen: click  HERE for the recipie


Sfenj : Algerian doughnut:


Chrik : Algerian buns from the city of Constantine,  click  HERE  for the recipe



Traditional sweets like  halwa tourk -Turkish halva- and jawziya ( Algerian nougat made with natural honey and nuts, very much appreciated in the city of Constantine )


 Huzelnut stuffed dry figs

halwa7Jawziya, dates, and mssemens


Caprices ( left) Algerian toffee sweets


Green mint  tea, black coffee and cafe’ au lait ( french influence for the latter ) are usualy served along trays of homemade delicacies.
Cookies,  and traditional pastries are prepared all year  long  and kept in the freezer in case of unxpected guests as it’s extremely rude in Algeria to serve coffee on its own…..



In my region, and though copper ustencils are no longer widely used as in the past ,  the big ,one- meter  large copper trays  called siniya bou mitra  are still used as they are very practical to carry the different thermos of coffee, cafe’ au lait, sugar , napkin holder, orange blossom water holder ( m’rach, مرش) and of course the different trays of cookies and pastries.


M’rach : orange blossom water splasher


This is  typical siniya(copper tray )  covered with a cloth with thermos of black coffee,  cafe’ au lait , and a »  mrach  » ( splasher )  filled with orange blossom water for those who  like  blossom flavour in their coffee.


Green mint tea is served in a traditional tea pot called berrad  or bekraj and it’s usually served with tids bids like dry fruits and the like…..nuts like pinenuts and peanuts are put in the bottom of  the cups and float on the surface after tea is poured.


 so, shall I serve you tea or coffee?