The traditional cuisine of Algeria is formed under the influence of its neighboring countries, absorbing the best culinary traditions of Arabic, Turkish, Morroccan and Tunisian cuisines. We also see the umbrella term Maghreb cuisine - it brings together the cuisines of all of the peoples living in North Africa, including Algeria.
But despite the heavy foreign influences, Algerian cuisine has managed to preserve its uniqueness, originality and local taste. The culinary traditions of the sunny nation are a genuine part of the culture which attracts millions of first-rate gourmet chefs annually.
At the foundation of Algerian cuisine lies the traditional Arabic bread khubz, a mandatory part of meals at any dining table and one that is served with all types of food. One of the most popular local dishes is merguez, in essence a spicy sausage made from lamb meat.
Every Algerian's day always begins with a cup of coffee, served with cookies or bread with butter and jam. Here one can sense the strong French influence since they regularly have their coffee with milk. Sometimes they eat special Algerian pancakes - baghrir.
Another national dish is couscous. Every homemaker has her own recipe, usually handed down from the women of past generations. Quite often, they put a spin on traditional couscous using nuts, dried fruits, raisins, in order to create the delicious dessert known as mesfouf.
Karantita also falls under the group of traditional Algerian dishes. It is made from chickpea flour and normally served hot, on a baguette, seasoned with harissa and sprinkled with cumin.
The spices most commonly used in Algerian culinary traditions are dried and red hot chili peppers of various kinds, black pepper and cumin. Cinnamon also has a spot saved among the spice jars of all local homemakers. It is found even in meat dishes.
Asida is usually served at the end of each meal. This is a typical Algerian dessert, made from boiled dough, to which butter and honey are added. This sweet temptation is typically eaten without using any dishware or utensils. Another remarkable dessert is makroudh. It contains dates or almonds.
Some more recipes from Arabic cuisine: shawarma, quick kofte kebab, tajine with chicken, shakshouka, lamb with cinnamon.