Our Algeria, for sisters by sisters

Informations about Algeria


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M’hadjeb

Because when we say ‘M’hadjeb’ we say ‘Algeria’ !!! Ma shaa Allah! Who doesn’t love them? Here is a post we share from Umm Ibrahim – barakaAllahu fiha!

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Yesterday morning I sat with my sister-in-law for practical lessons in how to make M’hadjeb. It’s something I have wanted to learn to make for a long time now so it’s about time! M’hadjeb is similar in principle to the Pakistani/Indian Paratha in that it is a flat chapatti type of bread with a filling; in the case of M’hadjeb though, the dough is made from semolina rather than regular flour.

It is a very economical recipe at this time of year since semolina is a staple of North Africa and onions, tomatoes and peppers are in season and are cheap. Tomatoes are around 10Dinars/kilo (50halala/kg; 7p/kg)

The filling is made from equal quantities of chopped onions and peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes. Sauté the onions until soft, add salt and the tomatoes, some chopped green pepper if desired and you can also add chili powder or caraway seed if you like. Cook until reduced and rich in flavour.

For the dough, pour semolina of medium coarseness into a large bowl – for my trial run I just used about 1 kilo of semolina and a teaspoon of salt. Pour on some tepid water and mix briskly with the hands and add enough water to obtain a dough that comes together and is kneadable.

Turn the dough out onto the table and start kneading and keep sprinkling with drops of water and pummeling, stretching and kneading. You probably need to sprinkle with water every minute. Knead really well for at least half an hour. We kneaded for about 20 minutes, covered and refrigerated and then continued in the morning for another 15 minutes.

You should finally have a soft, elastic dough that is quite sticky. You’ll find that it is easy to knead but if you leave it for a moment, it sticks to the work surface. To test, break off a small piece and stretch into a rectangle, it should stretch easily and become quite sheer.

Form the dough into even sized balls, about the size of a tennis ball.

Oil the table and your hands and then take one piece of dough and with the hands smooth out and flatten the dough into a large square/rectangle. Holes don’t matter too much but try to make it as even as possible and avoid very thick areas. Stretch any thick edges.
Bring the top edge down and fold to the middle of the square and then add a tablespoon of the filling and spread out to cover what will be the middle section.
Next, fold up the bottom edge, then the left side over as far as the final edge of the filling and then the right side. Pat down gently and make sure none of the filling is oozing out. Sprinkle with oil.
Carefully lift up the M’hadjeb and place on the hot plate which should be set over a medium to high heat.

Turn over with a palette knife and cook evenly on both sides.

They can also be made with no filling, and then sprinkled with sugar and eaten with coffee; these are Ma’aarek.
I’m hoping that these instructions will be an adequate reminder for me when I get back home in order to replicate what I made yesterday!


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Eid Sweets – Algerian style – M’khabez

I don’t usually go all Algerian when it comes to Eid baking, or any baking for that matter, but I wanted to do one Algerian style sweet or cake along with other simpler non-Algerian ones. So today, I’m sharing a recipe for M’khabez. If you’ve ever had North African sweets, you’ve probably tried something like this and just not known what it’s called (very much like myself, who had to ask friends before posting this!) It’s basically a nut-filled, syrup-soaked pastry, a lot like the other Algerian sweet pictures I’ve shared in the past:

 

 

They can look quite intricate at times (and possibly intimidating) but if you like to get arty in the kitchen, you might like to try this!

Click here for the recipe >> http://fruitfulfusion.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/eid-sweets-algerian-style-mkhabez.html

Source: http://www.fruitfulfusion.blogspot.co.uk  – barakallahu fiki!


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Breakfast, Algerian style

 

 

Since it’s summer in Algeria now and there’s not much chance of rain, breakfast can be enjoyed al fresco or rather as the Algerians would say, barra.

 

There is not a bowl of Cheerios or cornflakes in sight but rather there is baguette fresh from the boulangerie, homemade apricot jam, homemade biscuits and of course freshly brewed coffee and hot milk.

Despite the fact that the French rule ended in the early 1960’s, there is still quite a mix of east and west in Algeria and a French influence remains. Although Algeria has it’s own fair share of delicious breads made with either semolina or flour or both, the French baguette is ever-present at the meal table. It is enjoyed with jam, dipped in coffee, used to mop up soups and stews or simply filled with cheese.


The biscuits in the photograph below are maqrout al-assal, a variation of the well known Arab-wide maqrout. They are made with course semolina, smen (clarified butter), orange flower water and are filled with softened date then deep fried and soaked in honey.

makrut

 

Umm Ibrahim
http://strangerinthisdunya.wordpress.com/