Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walima First Challenge - Representing the Algerian Cuisine

Algerian cuisine features cooking styles and dishes derived from traditional Arab, Amazigh, Turkish, and French cuisines. Additional influences of Jewish,Spanish Berber,and Italian cuisines are also found. The Cuisine is flavorful, often featuring a blend of traditional Mediterranean spices and chili peppers. Couscous is a staple of the diet, often served with stews and other fare.

We are proud to represent the Algerian Cuisine as our first challenge in the Walima Cooking Club, and the challenge is brought to us by our friend member , Khadidja from

Ready for our first Walima Challenge? As you may know by now, Algerian cuisine have been selected to be the first challenge. I chose a dish that I personally like - to eat and to cook- and hopefully, you'll have fun preparing it too and most importantly, I hope you'll like it. I chose Tajine Ezzitoun / Olives Tajine for the savory part, and Almond Surprises or what is called in Algerian "Slilet laaroussa" which is -translated- "The Bride's Basket" for the sweet part. Tajine Zitoun (Olives Tajine)This dish could be made with chicken or lamb or both. I personally mix the two meats in the same dish This recipe has some added meat balls and this is optional. If not using both meats, keep the exact same recipe.

Tajine Ezzitoun - Olives Tajine

1 whole chicken cut into pieces
2 lbs of lamb
1 large onion
1 Tbsp butter or oil
2 cups pitted green olives\
2 medium carrots, cut into circles
1 tsp salt,1/2 tsp cinnamon,1/2 tsp black pepper
1 chicken cube

Meat balls (optional)

1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1 small egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Flour to dredge the meat balls
To thicken the sauce: 1 Tbsp soft butter2 tbsp flour


1- In a pot / pressure cooker put the butter /oil, chicken pieces, lamb pieces (if using), the onion, salt, pepper cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the onionsare translucent. Add the chicken cube and enough water to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and cook until the meat is tender. If using both meats, half way through cooking, remove the chicken pieces and continue to cook until the lamb is tender.

2 - In a sauce pan, put the olives and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the olives boil for 3 to 5 mn. Drain and repeat the same process 2 to 3 times until the olives are no longer bitter.They should not be too salty neither. Set the olives aside.

3- Prepare the meat balls: mix all the ingredients and make balls. Put about 1/2 in of oil in a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Dredge each meat ball in flour and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

4- Once the meat pieces are cooked, add the olives, the sliced carrots and the meat balls. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot and cook until the carrots and the olives are tender, and the meat balls are cooked through.

5-To finish the dish, mix the butter and flour to form a smooth paste. Bring the sauce to a boil and gradually add the butter/ flour mixture, stirring continuously. Let the sauce boil for 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick. Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve the dish accompanied with lemon wedges.

Almond Surprises -
Slilet Alaroussa

You can find the link to this recipe on my blog

Very flavourful recipe , I followed the recipe as given , adding chicken, lamb and meat balls,
I did adjust the spices a little to our taste...we enjoyed it , and I encourage you to try it as well

for the Slilet Alaroussa, or the Bride's Baskets check the original recipe in Khadidja blog, and don't forget to check the challenge photos and posting at the rest of Walima members


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Join US to Celebrate the Middle Eastern Food

Walima is a Middle Eastern Cooking Club, with talented cooks from around the globe.

The Club extends the invitation to all Arab Cooks around the world, as well to every cook who enjoys cooking and has passion for Middle Eastern Cuisine! In the mean time, we do encourage and welcome every cook (blogger and/or non blogger) to join and be part of Walima’s talented and spicy team

Our goal is to accept, support, and appreciate each other; while educating, respecting and indulging in each member’s culture and catering in a family environment. Moreover, to emphasize and generously the nutritional and healthy aspect of Arabic Food!

Our Logo, as many will recognize is taken from one of Lebanese famous Painter, Mustapha Faroukh’s “Still Life Album". I had the privilege to be given the permission from Faroukh’s family to have it as our Team Logo.

Looking excitedly to hear from you soon!!!!!