Next on our journey through Amazing Africa, we are stopping in Algeria. Algeria is the largest country in Africa with a culture influenced largely by bordering the Mediterranean Sea and being close to Europe and the Middle East. I would love to walk through an Algerian spice souk. It is a delight to all of the senses to walk through the mounds of spices and see their beautiful colors. You will see how a grocery store spice section really pales in comparison if you ever visit one!
I decided to make two dishes for our family to try. I knew that the Doubara might be a little spicy for our four kids and wanted to give them a chance to try something just in case it was. I found a yummy sweet couscous to try after dinner.
While looking for a dish to try, I found this Doubara from Keesha’s Kitchen. It is a vegan soup, full of beautiful spices. She goes into some good details about its origin that are fun to read with your family. I omitted the extra chili peppers because I didn’t have any and it probably created a better spice level for us. You can consider doing the same if you are scared of building too much spice in your dish or you can try it the way that it is.
The recipe calls for dried chickpeas and fava beans. You can usually find these ready-to-go in the can, but dried is a more budget friendly option. Make sure to follow the directions on the back of your dried items the night before because they usually require an overnight soak. If you find yourself in a pinch, there is often a “Quick Soak” method, but beware that it still takes a few hours. Things like fava beans and harissa can be found in the World Cuisine section of your grocery store around the Middle Eastern section. If you are traveling through Amazing Africa with us, there are few more countries that will use the Harissa paste and saffron.
On the fourth step in the recipe it says “Add the tomatoes and chickpeas” and I believe it is meant to say fava beans in place of tomatoes.
It’s quite easy to make this Doubara as you can see:
Couscous is a great addition to your meal and kids love it! We also ate ours with some pita bread found at our local grocery store and some chicken nuggets on the side for our very small eaters.
After we ate our Doubara we made some Mesfouf, an Algerian sweet couscous. I found the recipe over at Miam Miam & Yum. As I read through her post I learned that there is a method of preparing couscous with a couscoussiere. If you do not have one of those, you can prepare the couscous according to your package instructions like I did and this will actually take you up to the 6th step in the recipe. Those unfamiliar with steaming raisins can boil some water and then pour it over your raisins in a bowl, letting them sit for a few minutes until they are nice a juicy, as she mentions in the recipe’s introduction.
I would love to see the detail that is put into this dish. As I was dressing our Mesfouf to serve, I wondered how Algerians make it. If it is something like oatmeal that members in the family dress differently depending on their tastes. We all have things that vary according to taste in our family!
Lastly, before eating our meal we prayed for the country of Algeria and it was a sweet time for us as a family and something that I recommend to those traveling through Amazing Africa with us.
Until the next meal, keep cooking in Cast Iron and don’t be afraid to try some new spice! <3 Kate
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