Ramadan bun from Constantine : CHRIK

Constantine …    قسنطينة  the city of the suspended bridges …..is the third largest city of Algeria after Algiers and oran and the regional  capital  of the Eastern province  .

What to say about Constantine?  write about  its Othomans history with the multiple  » Beys » ( the Turkish governers)  and their constant conflicts with the « Beys » of Tunis and the « Days » of Algiers or its Andalusian heritage  coming all the way from the town of  Seville ?, or may be about the role it played to protect the Arabo -Islamic identity of Algeria during  the 132 years of French occupation  ?

I know you didn’t come here to learn about  history, so let me introduce you into the culinary side of the city….

constantine cuisine  is considered one of the finest in the country and the maghreb, a fusion of of past civilisation that inhabited the city… with its Arabic, Amazigh , Jewish , Andalusian and Othomanc influences,the cuisine of Constantine offers an incredible diverse and unique arrays of delicacies  …..chrik ( rose water buns ), chbah essafra  ( almonds fritters sweet tajine ), jaouziya ( nuts and honey nougats )….are few examples ..

 chrik … literally meaning partner  , is a  typical Constantinois sweet bun associated with the month of Ramadan and offred along  the famous Algerian rice pudding  (mhalbi )as well as a choice of fruits like apples or peachs , this trio is labbled Smat  and is often present on the table of ramadan nights .

for my first s’hour ( Ramdan breakfast) I had no other alternative but going back to my ancestral cuisine and offering my kids bits of their homeland …

I have already tried two other recipes of chrik which were delicious but kouky’s recipe, as usual, left me speechless !!!!!!! the bun is incredibly soft with a fluffy and milky dough….the key ingredients in my opinion are oil and  milk powder.

I didn’t make numerous changes in the original recipes, except omitting rose water which I don’t fancy in breads and buns .Here’ the way I made it with half the ingredients. click  HERE  to see the original recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

500g of all purpose flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon of milk powder
62ml of oil + a nab of butter
1 tablespoon of yeast
vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
100gr of sugar
milk

PROCEDURE:

In your bread maker , mix   all the dry ingredients. then,  egg, oil, butter, and gradually add milk until you get a  soft dough that slightly sticks to your fingers.knead thoroughly until  smooth. cover and   and leave in a warm place  for one hour or  until doubled in size.


divide the dough   into small portions. shape into balls. brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar or sesame seeds. leave to stand for 10 mn, bafore baking in a 250g degree oven for about 15mn until golden brown. , I stuffed mine  with chocolate chips,  and just before baking I  cut the edges with scissors

FRANCAIS:

Souvent associe’ au Ramadan, le chrik se presente souvent en compagnie de la creme au riz Algerienne ( mhalbi) et des fruits de saison, notemment des pommes ou des peches….le tout s’appelle  : « smat »  et constitue un pillier de la table ramadanesque Constantinoise en compagnie des autres mets sucrees comme la halwa turque, le halkoum ( loukoum), zlabiya, et l’infinie liste des gateaux mieles aux amandes et noix.

j’avais deja essaye’ deux recettes de chrik dans le passe’ , mais c’est celle de Kouky qui  m’a letteralement seduite avec sa mie incroyablement douce , due probablement a la presence de l’huile et le lait en poudre dans la pate.

j’ai divise’ les ingredients en deux et remplace’ l’eau de rose classique avec de la vanille.

voici un copie’ cole’ de la recette avec mes proportions en rouge:

Ingrédients :

1kg de farine ( 500g )

1 verre de sucre ( 100g)

4 càs de lait en poudre ( 2 cas )

4 càc de levure instantanée ( 1 cas )

1càc de vanille

1càc de sel ( une pincee’ )

½ verre d’huile (125ml) ( 62ml + une noisette de beurre ramolli)

2 œufs ( 1 oeuf )

1 verre de lait tiède + eau de rose (250ml)   ( pas mesure’, ajoute’  le lait jusqu’a l’obtention d’une pate assez molle qui cole legerement aux doights )

Eau tiède ( pas mis )

Jaune d’œuf pour la dorure, grains de sésame, sucre cristallisé  ( sucres en greins pour la deco et pepites de chocolat pour le fourrage )

Marche à suivre:

– Mettre dans la cuve du robot les ingrédients secs, bien mélanger.

– Rajouter l’huile, les 2 œufs battus, et le mélange lait tiède eau de rose, continuer de mouiller avec l’eau tiède pour obtenir une pâte assez molle

-On continue de pétrir la pâte jusqu’à ce qu’elle se décolle des parois de la cuve.

– Transvaser dans un grand saladier huilé, couvrir de film transparent et laisser reposer à l’abri des courants d’air 1 heure ou plus selon les saisons.

– Dégazer la pâte, avec les mains huilées, façonner des boules de la taille d’une  mandarine les placer dans un plateau garni de papier cuisson en les espaçant.

–  Enduire une première fois  de jaune d’œuf battu avec une pincée de vanille et une pincée de café instantané

– Laisser reposer à l’abri des courants d’air.

– Préchauffer le four à 250°

– Enduire une seconde fois de jaune d’œuf et garnir de graines ou de sucre cristallisé ( a ce moment, j’ai realise’ des entailles sur la bordure, a l’aide des sciseaux )

– Enfourner et laisser 15 à 20mn  ( 15mn pour moi ) jusqu’à ce que les chriks  prennent  une jolie couleur dorée.

– Laisser tiédir sur grille et déguster

SAHA FTOURKOUM…..

J’edite ce billet pour remettre des photos typiques du « smat constantinois »  proposee’ par ma chere lectrice Saliha,

I edit this post to add new photos of the  » smat constantinois  » , kindly sent by my dear reader, saliha

voici donc son delicieux trio : chrik, mhalbi, et fruits

the « smat » is usually composed of chrik, m’halbi, (Algerian rice pudding) and seasonal fruits…..

MERCI  beaucoup Saliha pour le partage et la belle illustration de nos traditions ramadanesques….

Thanks Saliha for helping me  illustrate one of our beautiful ramadan traditions….

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Baghrir….Algeria’s Favorite pancakes

Baghrir is an North African   honeycomb-like pancake, very much appreciated  in Algeria and Morocco.

 Both Algerians ans Moroccans like to serve these pancakes as an afternoon treat alongside  butter and honey, sugar, olive oil…..etc…..but what I find interesting is that baghrir is a part and parcel of a typical Moroccan iftar  table  ( Ramadan fast- breaking  )  while in Algeria it’s prepared all year round except during the holy month, during which othoman influenced dishes and pastries such as  , ktayefs ( called kunafa in middle-east ) , halwat turk ( turkish halva), halwat halkoum ( turkish /delights  )  are preffered….
Both countries have  numerous  dishes in common especially those of amazigh and andalusian origin but because Morocco  didn’t fall into the othoman rule like its North African neighoubours, Ramadan tables of Algeria have more similarities with their Tunisian neighbours  due to their common turkish  heritage than of Morocco.

Isn’t interesting how political decisions  throughout  history influence our palate  ?

After getting married overseas and living in a multiracial university society , I discovered that people of the horn of Africa ( Ethupia, Somalia, Eriteria….and by extention their neighbouring arab country of yemen ) have a similar, baghrir like pancake, called enjeera in Ethipian, canjeero in Somali  or lahouh in Yemeni.
their pancake which is much more lighter and bigger  than our baghrir  plays a role of bread and is prepared daily to accompagny different dishes .

 When eating, several « injera » are layered  and topped with small portions of differents stews.  the pancakes  are then torn into  pieces and dipped  into the stews.

lahouh the yemeni version is prepared during ramadan to make a very refreshing appetizer called shafout…..

to know more about these pancake, please, click  HERE  and HERE

Due to the vast surface of the country. baghrir like many other dishes doesn’t have a single unique name in Algeria . In the Eastern part of the country it’s called ghrayef, in Constantine  » korsa », in Kabylia  » tighrifin » and in Algiers and the rest of the country….it’s simply Baghrir…..

Even when I was a teethless little girl with with two plaits , I have always loveeeeeeeed baghrir  . in those days , the whole processes would take hours between kneading, fermenting the dough and cooking the pancakes…I remember my grand mother ordering us , the children, to go out of the kitchen because laghreyef « dont  like eyes  » !!!!! the cook has to be on her own in the kitchen, the more you have people around  watching  you cook the baghrir, the less holes you would get….knowing that the success of the pancake is juged according to the number and the size of the holes you get.
this was an easy , ready made pretexte in case one fails to make a delicious , thousands hole-like baghrir , just blame people around  not the cook! lol

The traditional method of making baghrir is very time consuming. a matlou like dough is prepared then let to rest like any ordinary bread, then  punched down, kneaded thouroughly by adding warm water intil a creamy  pancake- like texture is obtained. the dough is then let to rest intil bubbles appears on the surface . only then we can start cooking the pancake on a special clay tajine called tajine m’sarah

Nowedays, all these steps are summed up thanks to technology…you only need a good recipe , and a  blender !

 so how to make a thousand-holes pancakes like this :
our grandmother nevers weighed the ingredients , they just worked by feel, mixing   semolina, yeast and water and had the most perfect baghrir ever.
After years of trial and errors, i came up with my personal tips that can be summed up as follows:
warning: you might find opposite pieces of advice on the net, recipes that call for few amount of yeast, a cold frying pan…etc….. every one has his own tips and secrets. the following are the results of my experience that work best for me :

  1.   -In order to get a perfect baghrir, the amount of yeast should be considerable , eg, a simple bread recipe requires 1 tablespoon of yeast for every 500g of flour. the baghrir requires 2 tables spoon for every 500g of semolina.
  2.  -The amount of water determines the succees of baghrir, the batter should creamy , almost liquid. if it is heavy, you’ll end up with  few  holes, in that case you should add more warm water and wait for at least  10 mn before start cooking.
  3. your pan should be well heated before pouring the batter. after cooking several pancakes, your pan will be  very hot. you should think of reducing the heat as soon as the honeycombes start forming if not you’ll overbrown the underneeth.

 Here’s my favourite baghrir recipe :
500g semolina ( or 300gr semolina & 200gr flour for a lighter result )
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbs of yeast (20gr)
1 tsp of baking powder
water, or mixture of water and milk for a softer pancake (  I prefer not to give an indication for the amount needed as my semolina absorbs liquids very fast. The batter should be creamy, almost liquid).

PROCEDURE:pour the dry ingredients in the kitchen -aid or a blender. if using a small blender , put half of the semolina first, then water then finish with the rest of semolina. mix for frew minutes until you get a smooth , lumpless batter. cover and leave to ferment  for one hour or so  until it doubles in size and lots of bubbles appear on the surface. 


stir  the batter thouroughly . greese a non-stick  pan  with a papertowel deeped in oil. heat it  up  over medium heat. use a medium sized laddle to scoop the batter. the quantity scooped depends eventually  on the size of your pan.


as soon as your pour the batter into the pan  the honeycomb holes will immediately  start  forming, cook the pancake intil the pancake dries up.

 remove from the pan and set on a big plate or a clean towel. don’t flip to cook the other side nor  pile them when  still hot  , otherwise they will stick to one another .


Topping :

coat them with a mixture of melted butter and honey, or butter and sugar, olive oil ….etc……..
FRANCAIS:

Je ne prentends pas detenir la meilleure recette de baghrir …mais  voudrais , par ce present post, partager  avec vous les astuces que j’ai tire’ de mes propes echecs . d’autre bloggeuses vous donneront des astuces differentes , voire  opposees des miennes : moins de levure, poele froide…..etc….
ce qui suit,  est le resultat de mes observations, succes et echecs a travers les annees car j’ai toujours adore’ les baghrir  et aimais le preparer  , il m’arrivait de rater  une recette qui m’a donne’  entierement satisfaction das le passe’. a l’epoque je m’ettais ca sur le dos de la semoule alors que c’etait probablement du a la quantite’ de l’eau que j’ai diminue’ sans en etre consciente.
ce n’est pas l’ajout de l’oeuf, la quantite’ de la semoule, le melange de semoule, farine qui determinent le succes d’un baghrir .
l’oeuf rend la pate plus riche, et la farine plus legere, mais le nombre des trous tant convoite’ est determine’ selon d’apres mon humble experience :
1-La quantite’ de la levure:   :
pour un pain ordinaire de 500g de farine, on met generalement, l’equivalent d’1 cas de levure . le baghrir necessite le double.
pour 500g de semoule, je mets 2cas de levure de boulanger.

La quantite’ de l’eau :
je ne vais pas donner une quantite’ precise pour l’eau  car ca dependera de la qualite’ de la semoule. y’en a qui absorbe l’eau tres vite et necessite moins de liquide que d’autres . l’essentiel est que le melange a crepe doit etre  cremeux, semi liquide . s’il est lourd , vous obtiendrez peu de trous. dans ce cas rajouter  de l »eau tiede et laisser  reposer quelques minutes suplementaires  avant de reprendre  la cuisson.
bien pre-chauffer la poele. quand vous etes au point d’epuiser la pate, pensez a reduire le feu  des la formation des bules, car apres avoir cuit plusieures crepes , la poele devient tres chaude et cremara le dessous des dernieres crepes.
voici donc une recette type avec le respect des points ci-dessus:

500g de semoule (ou bien 300g de semoule et 200gr de farine si vous preferez une crepe plus legere )
1/2 cac de sel
2 cas de levure de boulanger (ou l’equivalent de 20gr)
1 cas de sucre
1 paquet de levure chimique
assez d’eau [b]tiede [/b] pour avoir un melange onctueux , voire semi-liquide . vous pouvez melanger eau et lait . la crepe ne sera que meilleure.

dans un blender , ou bien  un kitchen-aide, mettre les matieres seches d’abord puis ajouter l’eau jusqu’a l’obtention de la consistance desiree’. si vous possedez un petit blender, mettez la moitie’ de la semoule d’abord, l’eau , mixez puis ajouter le restant de semoule.

laisser reposer une heure, voire plus selon la saison. le melange doit doubler de volume et former des bules en dessus.
remuer  le melange pour faire le homogeniser et faire disparaitre les bules. tromper une serviette en papier dans de l’huile et passer  la poele que vous avez pris soin de prechauffer . prendre une louche du melage et verser sur la poele. vous devez voir des bules qui se forment immediatement. laisser cuire jusqu’au dessechement de la crepe. a l’aide d’une spatule , enlever la crepe et la mettre dans une grande assiette.  Ne pas superposer les crepes quand elles sont encore chaudes ne pas oublier de passer la serviette huilee’ de temps en temps sur la poele . presenter les  baghrir avec un melange de beure fondu et de miel, ou bien , beurre et sucre, huile d’olive ou tout autre garniture  de votre choix.

beseha

Kesra Matlou, Algeria’s staple bread……..

I come from a part of the world where bread occupies an important place and carries a mystic , sacred  significance beyond its mere nutritional qualities,

bread ( khoubz in arabic, Aghroum in Amazigh dialects )  symbolises Allah’s sustenance ( rizk)  and is closely connected to  one’s roots….family and cultural identity.

 In Algeria , like in many other parts of the world ,  there is  a long list of proverbs and idiomatic expressions with the term  » khoubz » or kesra, ksour (plural of kesra) » reffering to life’s basic necessities, money and general living conditions…..

 Bread is so highly respected that it’s considered a sin to desecrate it . when finding a piece of a bread in the street,   ,people would   bring it  close to their  lips and forhead as a sort of reverence then put it aside so no one would step on it.

in this outstanding metaphoric passage, , mohamed Dib, one of Algeria’s significant litterature figures of french expression , brillantly describes the deep connection between bread, his love for his mother , and the yearning of past childhood memories….

« Nous vivons dans l’intimite’ du pain.Le notre ne nous etait pas donne’ , je veux dire qu’il ne nous convenait pas qu’il fut fait par d’autres, par un boulanger, un homme,et nous fut remis tout cuit , tout pret, contre de l’argent.Notre pain devait sortir des mains de la mere,pas meme de celle d’une parente……penser au pain nous renvoyait a la mere et inversement ,penser a la mere nous renvoyait au pain .l’un et l’autre etaient si lies que consommer du pain, revenait pour nous a consommer de la mere ,et que, aimer le pain, c’etait aimer la mere »

likewise…in his beautiful poem ( ila ummi /to my mother) palestinian revolution poet Mahmood Darwish depicts his longing for his mother, her  bread, and his lost sweet memories .

أحنُّ إلى خبز أُمي

وقهوة أُمي

ولمسة أُمي..

وتكبرُ فيَّ الطفولةُ

يومًا على صدر يومِ

وأعشَقُ عمرِي لأني

إذا مُتُّ،

أخجل من دمع أُمي

 

 and because I, also long for my mother’s bread and to those childhood happy  souvenirs where I would come back from school and munch a piece of my mother’s homemade kesra with melted butter and apricot jam( Algerian’s favourite jam, lol)  or ramadan long days where she would postpone the making of bread until the evening so we could eat her heavenly matlou  while it’s still warm……

because of all these reasons and many others I’d like to share with you my   modern yet  authentic kesra 

Why authentic ?: because the  recipe respects the true matlou method  that calls for double-stage kneading….the first one with little amount of water so we can thouroughly knead the dough  and the second after adding more water  to get a fluffy result.

Why modern ?: because handling the kesra galette and carring it from the working surface to your tajine/cooking pan is a very delicate step , the dough is so soft and  that you can easily damage the shape…..traditionnaly we would use our bare hands  a a type of  towel that doesn’t stick to the dough  but kouky invented  this clever way of using parchement paper aand solved all the complicated details connected to the kesra cooking. adding milk powder is another  modern twist that make the kesra softer and more delicious.

 Kesra Matlou (,كسرة مطلوع )  it’s a round , leavened,Algerian, semolina  bread , cooked on a typical clay pan called tajine

This is   my  a 60 years  metal tajine,  handed to me by my late grandmother who bought in Algiers during world war II , or  » guerrit lingliz » as she used to say .  I  don’t use it often but I dearly keep it as a souvenir of my grandmother and an erra that no longer exists.

kesra Matlou According to kooky’s recipe(CLICK)

INGREDIENTS:

 500 gr of fine semoulina or ( 300g semoulina and 200f flour)

1tbs of dried yeast

1tbs of sugar

4tbs of milk powder

1tsp of salt

+or – 400ml of warm water ( i used  350ml)

bread seeds of your choice ( optional)

few nabs of butter

oil to greese the baking sheets

PROCEDURE:

-in a large bowl ,Put the semolina (or a mixture of  semolina and flour)

 Add sugar, yeast, salt, , milk powder, and the bread seeds of your choice ( optional)

 -Mix well and slowly add about 300ml of warm water.

 Cover and set aside to  allow the dough to absorb the water .

  knead vigorously by gradually adding the rest of water ( I added 50ml ) . This step helps release the gluten that will be respensible in giving a spongy and light bread. you might use your bread machine during this step.

 Cover with cling film and let rise 1 hour or more depending on the season

 punch  down the dough. divide into 2 or three portions .

 incorporate a nab of softened butter into  each  ball.

 place it on a pre-oiled sheet of parchement paper.

 Let stand for a while.

 -flatten each ball into a large disc.

 Cover and leave in a warm place intil it doubles in size . this might take between 1/2h to more than 1h, depending on the season.

 preheat the clay  tagine  or any other iron skillet /pan of your choice.

 lower  the heat, prior to cooking .

  Gently take the parchement paper and place the kesra directly on the pan/tajine

 Carefully peel the parchement  paper , poke it with a tooth- pick or a knife and rotate now ad then to avoid burning the bread. with a help of a large spatula , flip it to the other side and let it cook until golden brown.

 once the kesra is cooked, brown the edges by exposing  it direcltly to the fire

 Enjoy with any gravy -like dish, dips or just on its own

 

 FRENCH

ingredients :

-500gr de semoule fine (ou 300gr semoule+200gr farine)

-1cà s de levure instantanée

-1cà s de sucre

-4 càs de lait en poudre

-400ml d’ eau tiède (+ ou – )

-1càc de sel

-Mélange de graines spécial pain (sésame, nigelle,fenouil,anis)

– une noix de beurre ou smen

huile

PROCEDURE:

Mettre la semoule ( ou le mélange semoule/farine)dans un grand plat ou dans un pétrin

 Ajouter  le sucre, la levure , le lait en poudre,le mélange de graines spécial pain et le sel

 Mélanger le tout et mouiller petit à petit d’eau tiède, environ 300ml au départ

 Couvrir et laisser reposer un petit moment pour  faire absorber l’eau

 Reprendre la pâte et la pétrir vigoureusement en rajoutant progressivement de l’eau tiède. Cette phase est importante pour libérer tout le gluten qui est dans la pâte et qui fera que la galette soit spongieuse et légère. L’utilisation du pétrin facilite le travail .On obtient au final une pâte  très molle

 Couvrir d’un film transparent et laisser lever 1heure ou plus selon la saison

 Reprendre la pâte, la dégazer délicatement et la partager en 2 ou trois selon qu’on veut de petites ou grandes galettes. Les petites étant plus faciles à manipuler.

 -Enduire chaque morceau de pâte de beurre ramolli et former une boule

 Huiler légèrement une feuille de papier cuisson et poser dessus la boule de pâte

 Laisser reposer un moment pour que la pâte se détende

 Aplatir la boule pour former une galette avec les mains  légèrement huilées

 Couvrir et laisser reposer  selon la saison de 30 à 1 heure, la galette doit doubler de volume en épaisseur

  Chauffer un tajine en terre  ou une lourde poêle en fonte

 Au moment de commencer la cuisson réduire un peu le feu

  Prendre délicatement le papier cuisson avec la galette dessus et  placer dans le tajine, le papier en dessus

 Retirer délicatement le papier cuisson et laisser cuire

 Décoller légèrement la galette , vérifier la cuisson et retourner la pour faire cuire l’autre face. On peut s’aider d’une palette en bois

 Laisser cuire la seconde face, trouer légèrement avec un pic

 Décoller,faire bouger la galette pour uniformiser la cuisson, la galette doit étre bien dorée

 Enlever la première galette du tajine et refaire la même opération pour les autres galettes

 Reprendre la galette avec un torchon propre et faire dorer les bords pour finaliser la cuisson

 Laisser refroidir couvert d’un torchon propre avant de découper et se régaler avec un tajine, un h’miss ou simplement avec du beurre et du miel!

Pogacas Turcs a l’eau minerale et faconage mini baguettes aux saucisses

salam, Hi,

les pogacas sont parmis les pains Turc les plus consommes a cote’ des simmit et des acma……
il ya plusieures recettes de pogacas sur le net, mais c’est celle du blog  » http://www.giverecipe.com qui m’a la plus seduite, a cause de l’utilisation de l’eau mineale qui lui donne bcq de legerte’ et de douceur.
j’ai essaye’ cette recette plus de 6 fois avec toujours autant de succes .

Zerrin  a farcie ses pogacas avec du feta et persil, mais comme on n’aime pas trop la feta chez nous , j’ai prefere’ mettre du cheddar et de la mozarella.

utiliser les tasses americaines pour cette recette :

pour la pate :
– 4 tasses de farine
– ¼ tasse de lait tiede
– 1 cas de levure de boulanger
– ½ tasse d’huile
– 1 cas de sucre
– 1 cac de sel
– ¾ tasse d’eau mineale ( j’ai du rajouter un petit peu plus d’eau )

pour la farce :
– un demi bouquet de persil
– 1 ½ tasse de fromage feta ( cheddar, mozzarella pour moi )
For badigeonner :
– 1 jaune d’oeuf
– grains de pavot ( grains de nigele pour moi )

procedure :
melanger , la levure, le sucre et le lait. ajouter les sur le reste des ingredients. vous pouvez ajouter un petit plus de farine ou d’eau minerale selon la capacite’ d’absorbtion de votre farine. vous devez obtenir une pate douce qui ne cole pas aux mains. couvrir et laisser lever. ( de mon cote’ je l’ai petrie ds ma map )

entre temps, ciseler le persil, l’ajouter au feta

prendre une petite boule de pate, l’aplatir ds la paume de la main, mettre un peu de farce, la fermer , et la dresser sur un plat allant au four, prealablement garnit de papier sulfurise’. repeter l’operation jusqu’a l’epuisement de la pate et de la farce.

prechauffer le four a 180C.

badigeonner les boules de pate du melange jaune d’oeuf /eau…… garnir de pavot, nigele ou de sesame. laisser reposer une dizaine de minute et faire cuire.
les retirer qd le dessus est bien dore’.

English Version :

This is the copy-paste of the  recipe as written by  Zerrin, except for the filling, i didn’t change any thing and the recipe turned out great :

ngredients
For its dough:
–    4 cups flour
–    ¼ cup warm milk
–    1 tbsp dry instant yeast
–    ½ cup vegetable oil
–    1 tbsp sugar
–    1 tsp salt
–    ¾ cup mineral water
For its filling:
–    Half bunch of parsley
–    1 ½ cup feta cheese ( used cheddar and mozzarella instead)
For coating their top:
–    1 egg yolk
–    Poppy seeds ( nigella)

Mix sugar and yeast with milk. Combine all the dough ingredients including this milk mixture and mix them well. You can add a little more flour or mineral water if either of them is not enough. You should have a pliable and nonsticky dough. Cover it with a moist cloth and let it rest for 45 min.

Chop the parsley and mix it with cheese.

Take a small piece from the dough and flatten it with your hands. You can do this on the counter. Put a tsp of cheese mixture on it and close it up folding the edges upwards like a bundle. Do the same for the rest of the dough. Place a parchment paper in a baking tray and place the pogacas on it. The folded side of pogacas should be at the bottom to have a ball shape.

Preheat the oven at 180C.Beat the egg yolk well and coat all the pogacas with it using a brush. And sprinkle poppy seeds on each pogaca. Bake them about 30 minutes until they get golden.

Last week , I  make them again and  filled half the dough with cheese and the rest  with chicken sausages cut into two to make these mini cute baguettes…. My children just loved them !!!!!!

L’autre jour, j’ai refait ces petits pogacas en les fourrant de saucises au poulet. ils etaient tres mignons et ont ete’ devores en un rien de temps.

pour les faconner, ya pas de plus simples. former la pate en petites boules, les etaler, placer une demie saucise au milieu, bien souder, faires des incisons inclines sur le dessus. badigeonner d’oeuf , laisser reposer en faites cuire jusqu’a ce que les petits pains gagnent une couleur doree’

Asian heart shaped custard bun/ brioche asiatique sous forme de coeur

Salam/ Hi everybody,

Today’s post  has nothing to do do with Algeria as  I would like to speak about Asian buns. .

Usually, there are two types of buns, the steamed ones, called paus in Malaysia and the baked ones , often seen in modern bakeries.

Sweet and savory buns are popular across Asia and are usually eaten as a snack throughout the day. there are sweet types filled with custard or red bean paste and savory ones with multiple components such as sardines, curry, chicken floss etc…..

The dough sometimes includes rice flour or made with a tang zhong ( clic ) base , a secret component that gives fluffiness and softness to asian buns.

Asians loveeeeee to play with the form of their buns , they are usually shaped into animals, flowers , human faces etc……

the followings are photos I took in a Japanese bakery in KL :



Today I will show you how to make  a heart shaped brioche I often see in local bakeries, . I tried them , a while ago with a blueberry custard filling  but I think a savoury version, like tuna, olive , cheese….. would be more delicious.

you can make them with your favourite bun or bread recipe and fill them with whatever you like. they are excellent for a snack,a  picnic  or a valentine breakfast .  I think the pictures speak forthemselves and don’t need any explanation. Enjoy!

Khobz eddar ….Algerian semoulina bread for the world bread day 2011

 After a series of articles that dug  into  Algerian cuisine,its roots and influences,  here comes my first blog recipie  about a typical Algerian bread called khoubz eddar or khoubz koucha, aka,  home made bread or oven bread .

Both bread and yeast symbolise bounty and prosperity , so it’s not randomly that I chose a bread recipe to start my blog with, and mark my participation in the  the world bread day event, initiated by zorra  

As I was saying in my former post, khoubz eddar is a ceremony bread in Algeria , usually prepared during Aids, ramadan, and when receiving guests.  the choices for  decoration and flavoring are  endless.

 my mother for example, would always prepare few bird shaped bread for my sibbling and I , in addition to the more traditional round loaves.  My late grand mother’s khobz, tasted more like a brioche than bread, as  she would only use egg whites  and add home-made orange zest or orange blossom water for extra flavouring.

By right, khoubz edar calls only for fine semoulina, but I prefer to mix it with all purpose flour as it’s hard to get a good quality semoulina in my area.

The following are old pictures taken from my french speaking blog……

INGREDIENTS:

600g  good quality fine semoulina

400g all purpose flour

 100ml oil

1 tablespoon sugar

2teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup  milk +extra water

2 tablespoon active yeast

GLAZE: 1 egg

sesamy or nigella seeds to sprinkle

optianal : 1 tablespoon butter for kneading

orange zest, orange blossom water for flavoring.

Together, sift the flour and semoulina, into a large bowl . add in the dry ingredients .put the oil, milk, and eggs in another bowl and beat with a fork until blended . gradually incorportate the liquid mixture into the flours . add extra water as you knead . place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. knead for 10 to 15 mn or until the dough is smooth and slightly sticks to the fingers. at this stage, you might add in some orange zest or 1tablespoon of orange blossom water if desired  ( I usually don’t ) . for best results, you can use your  kitchenaid or bread machine, as  semoulina bread requires more kneading than flour based breads.

cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface,  punch down and knead for 5 to 10mn. incorporate 1 to 2  tablespoon soft butter ( optional) Divide into two equal portions .place them into two pre-oiled trays.roll each portion into a smooth circle about 8 to 10 mn thick. glace with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sesamy or nigella seeds. using a sharp knife,  decorate the surface by scoring deep cut into the loaves or forming deep indents in the middle and drawing lines with the back of a fork.  set aside for 30 minutes or until  well risen

preheat the oven to 200 C. bake for 20mn or until golden brown . leave to cool on a wire rack. serve warm with a delicious tajine.

RECETTE EN FRANCAIS :

ingredients:

600 g de semoule,
400 g de farine,
2 tasses a cafe’ d’huile ( 100ml)
1cas de sucre

2 cac de sel

une  tasse de lait tiede + assez d’eau pour ramasser la pate

2 cas de levure de boulanger

Dorure : un oeuf

greins de sesame ou de nigele pour saupoudrer le pain.

Facultatif : une cas de beurre mou

zeste d’orange ou un bouchon de fleur d’oranger pour aromatiser le pain.

Procedure:

Dans une grande jatter, tamiser ensemble les deux farines. ajouter les matieres seches. melanger les matieres liquides ensemble puis les ajouter aux farines. ajouter de l’eau et continuer a petrir pd 10 a 15 mn  jusqu’a l’obtention d’une belle pate homogene qui cole legerement aux doigts. )vous pouvez a ce stade ajoute le zeste d’orange ou la fleur d’oranger pour aromatiser le pain ( je ne le fais generalement pas )  vous pouvez  petrir votre pate dans une kitchen aid ou a la  machine a pain etant donne’ que les pains de  semoule demandent  un petrissage plus long que ceux a base de farine ordinaire.  couvrir la pate et laisser la doubler de volume a l’abris des courrants d’air.

reprendre la pate, la rabattre ,  . vous pouvez aouter a ce stade une ou deux noisettes de beurre mou, tout en continuant a petrir.  la diviser en deux portions egales que vous etalerez en deux galettes de 8 a 10 mm d’epaisseur . dorer a l’oeuf et garnir de greins de sesame ou de nigele . . laisser lever une demie heure puis mettre a cuire dans un four chaud, pendant  20 mn environ ou jusqu’a l’obtention d’une surface bien doree’.

a consommer tiede avec un bon tajine.

Breads of Algeria / Pains d’Algerie

One of the main differences between North African and middle eastern cuisines lies in bread being the sole staple food for the former in contrast to bread and rice for the latter ( except for Lybia whose geography gives it the privilege of being  a cross culture between maghreb and machrek regions )

I was once discussing this matter with an Iranian friend who was  surprised to learn this fact, she Asked me about the  type of  food we offer  our guests during big ceremonies like marriages, and whether we need to bake tons of bread to feed them,  I said that we have other alternatives like couscous , and other local handmade pasta which play the same role as rice in other countries  and invited her to try our Algerian tlitli  ( clic ) that she liked very much.

Wheat is a significant agricultural product in Algeria but the demand for this crop is so high that the government  is compelled  to import more quantities, making the country  among the top ten importers of wheat in the world  , (according to ArabicNews.com)

Like in many other cultures of the world, bread  to Algerians, means more than just food to nourish the body. it has a variety of spiritual and social values that we can detect in the many proverbs and idiomatic expressions that call for the word « khoubz  » or  » kssour » the plural of  » kesra » which litarally means bread in Algerian dialect.

Algerians speak Arabic and a variety of Amazigh/ berber dialects, so bread in Algeria has many synonyms, khobz, kesra, aghroum…..

we say khobz when we speak about bread as a general term, and kesra when we refer to the flat , round, Algerian bread in contrast for example to the french loaf

the Amazigh regions of Algeria, like  Kabylia and Aures use the word Aghroum to refer to bread.

For many years, I was puzzled with the meaning of the word  » kesra » especially after discovering that is also used in Sudan….so thanks to uncle google i came to know  that  » kesra » means « a piece of « ……..something in old arabic , and even found a poem with the phrase » kesratou khobz » meaning a piece of bread.

One of the specificities of Algerian bread is the use of fine semoulina which needs lots of kneading compared to flour based breads.

Algerians cook their kesra on clay griddle called tajine , that is often   put on a sort of brazier  or a tabouna.  tabouna and tajines are important cookware equipements  for Algerian families, you’ll find them  in every household across the country, even the busiest working moms who don’t have time to cook their own bread, will keap these two elements  in their kitchen  in order  to make kesra  during  lasy weekends  or for  ramadan dinners.

different types of tajines

Tabouna

clay tajine, put on the tabouna, ready to cook the kesra:

kesra getting cooked on a metal tajine:

on these tajines, various Algerian bread and delicacies are being cooked, such as :

Kesra matlou which is a leavened, spongious bread , excellent for  main courses dishes or dips:

kesra Rakhsis :

more dense than the former, but no less delicious. rakhis contains no, or less quantity of yeast in addition to the presence of oil

the plain type of tajine  is also used to make baghrir , a North African pancake that you can also find in Morocco and the west part of Tunisia

Mssemens/Mhajebs:

Mssemens are  north african crepes, that remind us of the indian parathas. in Algeria, we call the plain version mssemens and the stuffed one mhajebs. the dough is made out of semoulina  which gives them crispiness and character in comparaison to the flour made versions.

mssemens are cooked on a metal griddle called mraa ,placed  on the above tabouna.

Other than  the tajine  cooked breads, we have also oven baked types that we call khobz koucha or khoubz edar . these breads are made of fine semoulina flour, and enriched with oil, eggs, milk,  and /or zest of orange and orange blossom water.

khobz edar is traditionaly  prepared during ceremonies , ramadan , eid lakbir but also for our own pleasure when we feel like eating it.

In addition to the former types of bread which has been prepared by Arab and amazigh women of Algeria for thousands  of years,  the legacy of french bread culture is very evident in modern Algeria.

The French introduced , their well-known loaves of bread, brioches and other types of european like bread during their presence in the country that lasted more than a century .

In all  Algerian bakeries and bread stores, you will not only find the uniform baguette, but also multiform ones , crowns, sesame round loafs, flat loafs,  brioche, sugar breads , placed proudly on the shelves .

NB: Thanks to my friend kooky who provided me with the pictures of tajines and tabouna