(127) Algeria – Mโ€™thouem (Garlic Meatballs in Spicy Red Garlic Sauce)

Source: kayak.com

Algeria is a North African country situated between Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Alboran Sea. 80% of Algeria is made up by the Sahara desert. The country is known for its artisanship- pottery, carpet weaving, and wooden sculptures.

The cuisine of Algeria is made up of several cultures; Berbers, Romans, French, Spanish, Turks, and Arabs. Common spices used in their cooking includes cumin, caraway, fennel, coriander, and marjoram. A typical Algerian meal will consist of meat (lamb, beef, or poultry), bread, fresh herbs, vegetables, and oil. Couscous is another staple of the Algerian diet. Pork is not consumed due to the majority of the country being Muslim. One would traditionally eat an Algerian meal at a low sitting table using their right thumb, index, and middle fingers.

Mtewem which is Arabic for “with garlic,” is classically prepared in a tajine pot with either a white sauce or spicy red sauce. The meatballs can be made with either ground lamb, chicken, or beef and like the name implies LOTS of garlic!

I found the dish was easy enough to prepare. The meatballs were not perfectly formed and seemed to fall apart a little while cooking. I used canned chickpeas to cut preparation time as well which is usually my go to! I used a mild olive oil as my cooking oil. To add a little more to this meal, all though not traditional we added jasmine rice.

This dish had slight flavors of cumin and lemon which was a nice pairing, the main character however was garlic! It overall felt light and healthy to eat. The almond flavor was mild, but enjoyable. We also discovered meat balls and chickpeas work well together! We just wished the sauce was more abundant. The dish was rated 8/10.

Algerian Hirshon Garlic Meatballs in Spicy Red Garlic Sauce

A flavorful meal of meatballs and chickpeas with subtle flavors of lemon and almonds
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Meatballs

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 head of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp harissa can use paprika
  • 1 15.5 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup almonds Marcona if you can find them- ground
  • 3 tbsp argan oil or other neutral oil
  • 6 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Extras

  • 1/2 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • bread optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • Start making meatballs by kneading ground beef in bowl with a few tbsp of water. Keep kneading until all water is incorporated- this will increase meat tenderness.
  • Add the remaining meatball ingredients to bowl and mix well. Oil hands with neutral or argan oil and make walnut-sized balls transferring balls to platter.
  • Add meatballs to skillet/large sauce pan with warmed oil at medium heat. Brown on all sides and remove from pan. Add onions and cook until golden. Then add garlic, chickpeas, spices, ground almonds, tomato paste, harissa, and meatballs. Add enough water to cover everything and allow to cook for 20 minutes at medium low heat (until meat is tender).
  • Once meatballs are cooked through remove from pan and reduce sauce for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  • To serve return meatballs in sauce and top with fresh parsley and lemon slices. You may also serve with bread to help absorb the sauce.
Keyword Algeria, Chickpeas, Meatballs

(112) Tunisia – Shakshuka

Today’s meal is from Tunisia, not Greece as the above picture may convince you. Tunisia is apart of Northern Africa which borders the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria, and Libya. Here you can find a blend of Arab and Berber culture, 99% of the country being Arab. An interesting fact about Tunisia is that Star Wars A New Hope was filmed in several locations.

Sidi Bou Said – Source: The Japan Times

The local fare is greatly influenced by the countries culture and surrounding regions. Like other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil, tomatoes, and seafood are commonly used in their meals. A trait that sets Tunisian cuisine apart from other Northern African countries is that most of their meals are spicy. These spices include cumin, caraway, chili peppers, paprika, coriander, and garlic.

The dish I found to represent Tunisia is called shakshuka. It is thought to have originated here, but is widely eaten as a breakfast dish throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. Simply it is lightly poached eggs in a pepper and tomato sauce along with other fresh ingredients. This meal traditionally is vegetarian and the recipe I used can be found here.

After prepping all the veggies (or using canned) you end up combining all the ingredients in one pot and making wells for the eggs to sit while they cook. The recipe is fairly simple and quick to make.

We found this plate to be unique, but unfortunately underwhelming in flavor and textures. The flatbread pair well and was the perfect vessel to transport the meal to your mouth. I can’t see us trying this one again, it was rated 6/10.

(50) Tanzania – Curried Fish with Kachumbari Ya Matango (Cucumber Salad)

WE MADE IT TO 50 COUNTRIES GUYS!! WOOHOO! Nearly 5 months after starting the blog we have reached this milestone. I’m thankful to my followers on all platforms and everyone’s recipes and information I have been able to share. I can’t wait to see what the next 50 bring!

Mount Kilimanjaro and two beautiful giraffes. Source: Pinterest

At #50 is Tanzania, a East African country that is bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi. Wow that’s a lot of countries! This country is known for the famous Mount Kilimanjaro which stands at 19,341 ft tall making it the tallest mountain of Africa. Nearly every climate system can be found around this magnificent mountain which includes alpine desert, arctic, rain forest, heath, moorland, and cultivated land.

Currently Tanzania is home to 120 ethnic groups which have Asian and European roots. Beans, coconut, and plantains are the three primary staples in their traditional dishes. These ethnic groups influence the food found here including tonights dish.. curried fish. The meal consisted of a curried fish stew-like concoction and a simple yet delicious side salad.

Both recipes were easy to prepare and paired well together. I used cod as my white fish, but I would have tried catfish if given the chance. It was refreshing to make a meal that consisted of less expensive items, many of which are staples in my home.

We loved how cilantro lightened the buttery curry and the salad was refreshing. This is definitely an easy and healthy weeknight meal. We rated it 7.25/10.

On to the next 50.. ๐Ÿ˜

(46) Morocco – Lamb Tagine with Apricots

Tamnougalt, Morocco. Source: blogs.sas.com

Welcome to another day at The Messy Aprons, we are quickly approaching 50 countries! Today we are in Morocco, a Northern African country that is a blend of Arabic, European, and Berber culture which heavily influences the cuisine. Berbers are an ethnic group of Northern Africa that are often farmers in rural areas, but historically were nomadic merchants that brought caravans across the deserts. Fridays are known as “couscous day” which is the holy day of the week in Morocco.

I made a lovely, flavorful dish to represent the beauty of Morocco – Lamb Tagine with Apricots. Tagine is a traditional Berber, slow-cooked stew that is named after the special clay pot that it’s prepared in. These stews are full of several of delicious ingredients including chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and garlic. This dish is also full of spice that makes the dish so warm and comforting. Luckily I found a recipe that I could follow without the special cookware, time to fire up the Instant Pot!

Again, I substituted stewing beef for the lamb but let me know if you decide to make it traditionally! The recipe was straight forward, but it definitely took me longer to make than the 10 minutes of prep time. This aromatic dish had my kitchen full of Arabic smells and left my stomach growling! I decided to add extra ginger, garlic, and dry spices because why not? It did not leave us disappointed!

We LOVED this dish. I loved all of the elements and it left us craving more. I could see myself eating this on the regular. It had that winning combo of tomato and cinnamon that we had discovered in paste dishes. The topping of cilantro brightened the hearty stew. Top marks Morocco- we rate you 10/10.