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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tunisian Recipes Part 1

Aslema Everyone !

I am no show off but here are my recipes for traditional tunisian dishes. It's part 1 because I have many more but I have to make them first since I do it all on the spot then easily forget, but I promise I got couscous and oujja coming up.

But it is all thanks to my husband who is a great cook MashAllah, he used to watch his mom cook when he was young, then he practiced when he was here alone in Canada and then he taught me. Bismelleh,

TUNISIAN SALAD or "Slata"

This salad is delicious and recommended on a hot day.





Approximate time: 5 minutes!

Serving: This is usually good for 3 or 4 poeple, but you can easily add more!

Ingredients:

1 lemon or lemon juice
1 big English cucumber or a few small ones
2 Tomatoes
1 Medium onion
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Parsley (though not traditionally in the salad, I add parsley as in the above picture.)
Preperation:

Just chop the cucumber/onion/tomatoes in small cubes.
Dress with olive oil,lemon juice, salt and pepper. (ratio is usually one part lemon to two parts oil)
Put it in the refrigerator or eat right away!(p.s. results may vary lol)

TUNISIAN BRIK

Brik is something we eat during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Little heavy but amazing. Sometimes you can find it in Tunisia with the egg runny, but we like it well cooked.

Approximate time: 20 min

Serving: Makes 10 briks (4 or 5 poeple)

Ingredients:

1 pack of Brik sheets (kinda like a thin thin rice paper almost but made from semolina)
Eggs
Salt and Pepper
1 big bouquet of parsley
1 Onion4 or 5 potatoes
Optional: Tuna
Preparations:

Peel and boil potatoes until soft. Remove water, mash potatoes with fork (not until smooth but rather chunky) and add one bouquet of chopped parsley and chopped onion. Mix so the heat from the potatoes wilts everything down but don't "cook" the onions.




Once done put in a large bowl, add salt and pepper to taste. Add eggs to mixture one at a time. You are look for a consistency thicker then an omelet. (Kinda pasty, below). This is the time to add tuna if you like.


The brik sheets are round so fold in the sides to make a square(below), spoon egg mixture in the center about two table spoons (the ones you eat).
Remember the more you put the longer it takes to fry. Fold the square in half so it makes a triangle. Deep fry. You can poke it with a fork to let air out and the oil get in to cook the inside. It is cooked when your fork comes out clean.

** UPDATE
Triangle is the traditional shape for Brik. But I did a little twist to it. I was thinking, how can I get more egg mixture in this thing but without too much dough sticking out and obviously the more surface area the quicker it will cook. So I decided to spoon on one side of the circle, fold in half, tap the mixture thinly so it will stick cook quite fast, fold the edges in a voila! A rectangle, lol!! So here it is at the bottom.

This is served usually with lemon slices and very hot.
I just wanted to add that I noticed some poeple trying to find these in the supermarkets. If you guys can't get this, use chineese spring roll dough apparently it's better then phyllo dough.
Also this chef explains a bit of what it is and shows some brands: http://www.chefzadi.com/2005/09/lemnemeche_doig.html
TUNISIAN SALSA or MECHOUIA

This is like a salsa now I use a thing made to crush tomatoes (my grand mother makes her own tomato sauce ) but for this purpose we will use a mini chopper or blender.

Approximate time: 25 minutes

Serving: Hrmm I have no idea but it doesn't last long in my house! You can even add it to omelletes (yum!)

Ingredients:

2 large green bell peppers
2 long peppers (the spicy ones don't know how to say it, you can also add banana peppers or chili peppers depending how hot you like your food)
2 large tomatoes
1 large clove of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Tuna and olives or hard boiled eggs for garnish

Preparation:

Grill or bake all of the veggies. So until peppers are soft, until the garlic clove (leave skin on ) is mushy. The tomatoes are usually done first.

On a large sheet peel all the skins off the peppers and garlic clove.Put all the veggies in a blender and pulse. Not too long just make sure everything is cubed. Add salt and pepper and olive oil.

Serve on a flat plate under a large spoon full of oil. Garnish on top with tuna olives and/or hard boiled eggs.

TUNISIAN VEGETABLE RAGOO OR CHAKCHOUKA

Great with crusty bread!

Approximate time: 1 hr 30 min ( but I never really timed it, after everything is cooked just leave it on really low until ready to serve)

Serving: 4 poeple + left overs

Ingredients:

A bouquet of Chard
A few stocks of green onions
4 potatoes
Half a butternut squash
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 small can of chickpeas already cooked
1 bouquet of parsley
1 green bell pepper
1 green long pepper (again don't know the name its kinda hot)
2 stalks of celery
Salt and pepper
Tabel (which i think is coriander powder but there is variations depending on the tunisian woman lol, but it is optional tastes just as good without it)
Paprika
Tomato paste
Olive Oil

Preparation:

Cut up all veggies (my husband likes everything medium sized but for a rustic feel cut larger pieces). I would cut the squash and potatoes bigger because they tend to become soft and smaller when cooked.

Divide into two groups: potatoes and squash in one group and the rest in the other (except chick peas leave for the end). In your pot: olive oil and fry everything except the potatoes, squash and chick peas.

Once really well wilted, onions are sweaty and everything smells amazing, season with salt and pepper.Add a generous tablespoon (the one you eat with) of tomato paste. Fry the whole again, making sure nothing is sticking, usually about 4 minutes.

Add potatoes and squash. Cover with water.

Now here is my secret. My husband is against it but i don't care, i think makes everything taste better. Chicken base, yes i found some halal, hamduleh. I put one cube secretly, because if he sees it he will say " My mother never uses chicken base she only uses fresh chicken" or worse "There is no chicken in chakchouka" etc etc.

Taste broth, add salt and pepper to taste. Half a teaspoon (the one you eat with ) of paprika or more depending on your threshold of pain. Half a table spoon of tabel. Let it all cook until it becomes amazing. Usually lid half on so some evaporation occurs and it thickens.

Add chickpeas at the end to warm them up.
Let me know who tries any of these!

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

mmm brik--
My first ramadan after I converted I worked with a Tunisian couple and they would always bring brik and some type of lamb soup with wheat in it for iftar (we worked 2nd shift). They were quite kind and always shared with me. Those were great memories and I loved that food.

martha said...

mmmm! when we lived in tunis we would regularly go to a restaurant and have brik. We never tried to cook it! The waiter said that, since we could finish it without breaking the yolk, we were officially not tourist, but real tunisians. The kids were very struck by that sentiment!