Algeria is our next stop on our World Cup tour.... and we didn't want to produce the obligatory cous cous. We thought we would do something completely different. And we found some fantastic recipes online... felfel(stuffed chilli peppers), and garantita (a great chickpea dish like no other). Accompany that with some seasonal green vegetables in a tarragon vinaigrette (a nod to Algeria's French colonial past) and one of my own recipes for broad bean falafels and we had a perfect non-dairy Algerian feast.
A real revelation to me... I thought I knew most chickpea dishes but little did I know of the sheer versatility of this humble pulse.
Essentially this is a baked chickpea flour flan that gets used to smear hot over fresh baguettes.... My garantita was less of flan and more of a solid affair (think I cooked it too long) but it was very delicious. The recipe is here on the Teal Tadjine blog ... and if you want a vegan version just scroll to the end of recipe for a replacement to egg (a flax 'egg'). I put plenty of cumin and smoked paprika in mine which I think really lifted the flavours.
Now to the stand out dish felfel or stuff chilli peppers.
I found these wonderful mild chilli peppers from the local farmers market and mixed them up with some longer green peppers for contrast... I think traditionally it is made solely with larger chilli peppers but using other pepper types did not detract from magical dish.
The inspiration for this dish was dandelion vegan blog. We couldn't access the recipe so just looked at the instructions on the blog and made it up.
6 mild chilli green peppers (you can use red or green long peppers)
100g walnuts and pine nuts combined - more walnuts than pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
lots of chives (you make it up... if you like the chive have lots, if you don't, just put a few stalks in)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1) Gently blend the walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, chives and a little olive oil.
2) Take your chilli peppers and cut off the end. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
3) Take the nut mix and spoon into the peppers and gently press into the pepper.
4) Heat the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the peppers on gentle heat.
5) When the peppers are gently browned take out of the pan and onto a serving plate. Sprinkle over the peppers some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Ready and perfect!
Cook this dish! It is so delicious and I am addicted.
Broad Bean Falafel
Now I have published a recipe for broad bean falafel before but I thought i would create a more subtle falafel... which is only broad bean and is pretty plain and simple.
It is astounding ... it is a wondrous vibrant green and taste amazing... if you want to zing it up a little serve with harissa or any local chilli sauce.
300g broad beans shelled and skinned (after podding just blanch the beans for about 3-5 minutes)
1 small onion finely chopped.
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
1-3 tbsp of gram flour
Oil for frying.
Add the onion, garlic, cumin, and salt to the beans. Puree and add a little water and pulse until the mixture is gritty but fine and green. Scrape the paste into a bowl. Add the gram flour and mix.
In a small heavy pot or wok heat 6cm of oil to 180C. Scoop the mixture into the palm of your hand and fashion into little flying saucers. Spoon into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes in small batches until crisp and brown, then drain on paper towels.
Seasonal Greens with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Gather a selection of seasonal green vegetables like spinach, asparagus and peas depending on what time of year.
Prepare the vegetables and blanch for about 3 minutes.
So the vinaigrette:
1 tbsp tarragon or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp of chopped tarragon
1/2 shallot very finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple or date or agave syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the ingredients and season well... it is up to you.. if you like the tarragon then add a little more. I tend to whisk all the ingredients together and add a little more of what I like....just taste.
Serve it all with a couple of baguettes...
Game: 4 Food: 5 (Algeria were fantastic to watch and were unlucky not to win against Russia... I was rooting for Algeria all the way through.... and this little sample of Algerian food has had me craving for more. Felfel - to new favourite dish.... I am loving that the world cup is introducing me to so many new recipes).