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North African Dishes Archives - Everyday Vegan Cooking

Everyday Vegan Cooking

Vegan Recipes for Everyday Meals

Category: North African Dishes

Vegan Mafrum (Boulettes) – Stuffed Vegetables Recipe

The original Mafrum or (Boulettes in Tunisia) is a meat patty nestled between slices of potatoes, then coated in flour and eggs, pan fried and cooked in a thin tomato sauce. It is usually served without any sauce on couscous or rice with your favorite north African stew or soup along any north African salad like tirshi, Msier and marmumaThis is a staple of Libyan and Tunisian home cuisine and is usually served as a part of a Friday or a holiday dinner.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

I’m eating this patty every week since I was a little child since my mom and grandmother used to make it every Friday to go along with the couscous. So….today I’m bringing you a cruelty-free version of the mafrum that by no means less tasty than the original recipe and most of the credits for this veganized recipe go to my mom <3.

You might  wonder why bother veganizing such an obscure dish, for that I’ll say that mafrum for a north African is just like a hamburger for an American, and we all know how many vegan burger recipes are out there 🙂

Before going into the details of the recipe, I would like to note that this is not a easy or a simple recipe like many of the recipes I post here; there are multiple steps in it, and each is very important for achieving the final taste and texture. The vegan version tastes very similar to the non vegan version of the patty and carries the same texture, I know that for certain because I’ve tasted the original for many years and everyone in my family who had tasted it said that it is delicious and will gladly eat it when they come to visit.

One last note: though mafrum is usually made as a patty between potatoes, you can substitute potatoes for any other hard vegetable like zucchini, eggplant, fennel, artichoke, cauliflower, carrot, dried red pepper etc’.

Ingredients (for about 14 Mafrums):

1 cup of walnuts + 2 cups of black/red bean – cooked, drained – processed in a food processor (you can use veggie meat crumbles to more meaty texture)

1 cup – finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup – finely chopped cilantro

1 big onion – diced

1 TBS of Kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 tsp – freshly ground black pepper

4 potatoes

2 zucchini

4 dried peppers

1/2 cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of day old bread (wet and squeeze out of water)

1/2 cup of chickpea or lentils flour

1 tsp paprika or 1 tsp of tomato paste

Vegetable oil for frying

Tomato

2 cloves of garlic – peeled.

Directions:

Preparing the patty mixture

1. Finely dice the onion, put in a sieve and mix with 1 TBS of Kosher salt. Add the parsley and cilantro on top of the onion and set aside. We would like to extract some of the spiciness out of the onion and soften it a bit. It will extract about 1/4 of a cup of liquids while we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Don’t skip this step, it is crucial to the final flavor of the Mafrum.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

2. Blend the cooked beans with the walnuts in a food processor until smooth. If you use veggie meat crumbles, you can skip this step, though I would recommend to wash the veggie crumbles in a sieve under some running water to extract all the spices that are in it. We have our own spices 🙂

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

In this pic you can see the ratio between the cilantro (on the cutting board) and the parsley

3. Add the following spices to our meat substitute and mix well: 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/2 tsp – ground coriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, two cloves of garlic – minced.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

4. Now, we will prepare the vegetables that we are going to fill with our mixture, there are many ways to prepare it, the best way (that requires the use of a bird’s beak knife) to hold the filling  is to create some kind of a nest for the patty as shown in the following pic:

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

If you are filling some dry pepper (one of my favorite mafrum), you will have to soften it by soaking it in hot water for about 10 minutes. If you have any vegetable leftovers, you can grate them on top of the onions and parsley, we will later use them in the patty mixture.

5. Wash the onion, parsley and grated veggies under running water and squeeze well!

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

6. Add the onion and vegetables to the bean mixture and mix well. Add the soaked and squeezed bread or the breadcrumbs into the mixture and mix again. Now you can start filling the veggies with the mixture.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

Frying the mafrum

7. Mix the garbanzo beans flour with paprika and water until it reaches a creamy texture. A good sign for the right consistency (how much water to add) is that if you insert a spoon into it and take it out, it will stay coated all around.

8. Heat oil in a pan to a medium high heat. With tow spoons, dip the patty inside the mixture, make sure it is coated all around and transfer to oil. The oil should reach about half the height of the patty.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

9. When the part that is in the oil is golden brown, flip the patty to the other side.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

10. When the patties are fried all around, transfer to a plate.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

The patty is inside these dry spicy red peppers – yum!!

 Cooking the mafrum in tomato sauce

11. Take a large enough pan that can fit in one layer all the mafrum that you would like to make. Put about 1 TBS of oil, 1 tomato – sliced, salt, pepper and two cloves of garlic and fry until the tomatoes’ flesh separates from the skin. BTW, if you made, say 14 patties, but you planning to serve only 7 during dinner, you can freeze the fried patties and cook them in a later date.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

12. Add the patties in one layer on top of the sauce you’ve just cooked.

13. Add water, leave 1/8″ (1/2 cm) uncovered with water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

14. Remove the lid and cook on low-medium heat until all water evaporates.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

 Printable recipe:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 14
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of walnuts + 2 cups of black/red bean - cooked, drained - processed in a food processor (you can use veggie meat crumbles to more meaty texture)
  • 1 cup - finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup - finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 big onion - diced
  • 1 TBS of Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • ¼ tsp - freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 dried peppers
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of day old bread (wet and squeeze out of water)
  • ½ cup of chickpea or lentils flour
  • 1 tsp paprika or 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic - peeled.
Instructions
Preparing the patty mixture
  1. Finely dice the onion, put in a sieve and mix with 1 TBS of Kosher salt. Add the parsley and cilantro on top of the onion and set aside. We would like to extract some of the spiciness out of the onion and soften it a bit. It will extract about ¼ of a cup of liquids while we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Don't skip this step, it is crucial to the final flavor of the Mafrum.
  2. Blend the cooked beans with the walnuts in a food processor until smooth. If you use veggie meat crumbles, you can skip this step, though I would recommend to wash the veggie crumbles in a sieve under some running water to extract all the spices that are in it. We have our own spices 🙂
  3. Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe
  4. In this pic you can see the ratio between the cilantro (on the cutting board) and the parsley (in the sieve)
  5. Add the following spices to our meat substitute and mix well: ¼ tsp of black pepper, ½ tsp - ground coriander, ½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, two cloves of garlic - minced.
  6. Now, we will prepare the vegetables that we are going to fill with our mixture, there are many ways to prepare it, the best way (that requires the use of a bird's beak knife) to hold the filling is to create some kind of a nest for the patty as shown in the following pic:
  7. If you are filling some dry pepper (one of my favorite mafrum), you will have to soften it by soaking it in hot water for about 10 minutes. If you have any vegetable leftovers, you can grate them on top of the onions and parsley, we will later use them in the patty mixture.
  8. Wash the onion, parsley and grated veggies under running water and squeeze well!
  9. Add the onion and vegetables to the bean mixture and mix well. Add the soaked and squeezed bread or the breadcrumbs into the mixture and mix again. Now you can start filling the veggies with the mixture.
Frying the mafrum
  1. Mix the garbanzo beans flour with paprika and water until it reaches a creamy texture. A good sign for the right consistency (how much water to add) is that if you insert a spoon into it and take it out, it will stay coated all around.
  2. Heat oil in a pan to a medium high heat. With tow spoons, dip the patty inside the mixture, make sure it is coated all around and transfer to oil. The oil should reach about half the height of the patty.
  3. When the part that is in the oil is golden brown, flip the patty to the other side.
  4. When the patties are fried all around, transfer to a plate.
Cooking the mafrum in tomato sauce
  1. Take a large enough pan that can fit in one layer all the mafrum that you would like to make. Put about 1 TBS of oil, 1 tomato - sliced, salt, pepper and two cloves of garlic and fry until the tomatoes' flesh separates from the skin. BTW, if you made, say 14 patties, but you planning to serve only 7 during dinner, you can freeze the fried patties and cook them in a later date.
  2. Add the patties in one layer on top of the sauce you've just cooked.
  3. Add water, leave ⅛" (1/2 cm) uncovered with water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and cook on low-medium heat until all water evaporates.

 

Tunisian Tomatoes and Peppers salad recipe – (Marmuma)

In any north African cuisine, you can find a different kind of tomato salsa, usually spicy. In Morocco, for example, you  will find the Matbucha which contains mostly tomatoes and some roasted peppers and garlic. There are many varieties for this recipe, even withing the same family, most of them differ in the ratio between tomatoes and peppers, how much garlic you add, if you add water or whether or not you add tomato paste – some people even add onions to this salad. After trying different versions of this salad since childhood (for over 30 years), I find this version, that my Tunisian grandma makes the tastiest of them all. In this version, the ratio in volume for tomatoes and peppers is equal (half the volume will be tomatoes and half peppers) and no water are added. You don’t mix the salad during the cooking, so the tomato wedges and pepper pieces remain distinct.

If you make a lot of this salad and after about four days you have enough of it left, cook it with some potato wedges and water for a perfect side dish that goes well with rice or with bread (kids just love it). I make this salad almost every week for many many years and always bring this to dinners with friends and it is always a big success – the first salad that is finished.

This salad is, again, a staple salad that goes well with Couscous, its flavor is sweet and spicy with distinct tomatoes and pepper taste.

It is very simple to make, but you have to follow the steps carefully.

Ingredients:

3 big peppers, seeded and cut into a big bite size  – it is better to have peppers in different colors like red bell peppers, yellow peppers and green peppers for more complex taste.

1-2 jalapeno or any other spicy pepper, seeded and cut into a big bite size – you can make this salad not spicy at all, but I like it a little spicy.

5-10 tomatoes cut into wedges (depending on size – you want to have the volume in peppers to be about the same volume in tomatoes) – here, again, a variety of tomatoes will add a complex tomato flavor to the salad and will make it taste better.

10 whole cloves of garlic – peeled

2 TBS neutral in flavor oil – canola, safflower, sunflower seed, soy etc’

1 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Take a large pot and put it on a medium heat. Add the oil, peppers and garlic and mix.

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2. Saute the peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes. After 2 minutes you will smell the garlic. You should sauteing when you start smelling the peppers. If you pay attention to sounds as well, you will notice a beautiful cracking sound.

3. Add the tomatoes and mix well.

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4. Cover completely with a lid and cook for about one hour. It is important to check on the salad every 15 minutes or so. After 20 minutes or so, it will look like that:

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5. Do not stir! but you can tilt and shake the pot to check if there is still a lot of liquid. After about 45 minutes it will look like this:

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When there is very little thick and sweet sauce (you should definitely try it) you can turn off the stove. It is ready.

Eat it with bread, eat it with Couscous, cook it later with potatoes. This is some addictive stuff.

 

Variations:

1. While cooking, you can mix to get a wonderful salad that is more similar to a salsa or tomato sauce. it will taste equally great, but will not have the same texture.

2. Cook on a very low heat for about 3 hours. The result will be even sweeter.

Printable recipe:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tunisian Tomatoes and Peppers salad (Marmuma)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
It is very simple to make, but you have to follow the steps carefully. Variation: 1. While cooking, you can mix to get a wonderful salad that is more similar to a salsa or tomato sauce. it will taste equally great, but will not have the same texture. 2. Cook on a very low heat for about 3 hours. The result will be even sweeter.
Ingredients
  • 3 big peppers, seeded and cut into a big bite size - it is better to have peppers in different colors like red bell peppers, yellow peppers and green peppers for more complex taste.
  • 1-2 jalapeno or any other spicy pepper, seeded and cut into a big bite size - you can make this salad not spicy at all, but I like it a little spicy.
  • 5-10 tomatoes cut into wedges (depending on size - you want to have the volume in peppers to be about the same volume in tomatoes) - here, again, a variety of tomatoes will add a complex tomato flavor to the salad and will make it taste better.
  • 10 whole cloves of garlic - peeled
  • 2 TBS neutral in flavor oil - canola, safflower, sunflower seed, soy etc'
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Take a large pot and put it on a medium heat. Add the oil, peppers salt and garlic and mix.
  2. Saute the peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes. After 2 minutes you will smell the garlic. You should sauteing when you start smelling the peppers. If you pay attention to sounds as well, you will notice a beautiful cracking sound.
  3. Add the tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Cover completely with a lid and cook for about one hour. It is important to check on the salad every 15 minutes or so.
  5. Do not stir! but you can tilt and shake the pot to check if there is still a lot of liquid. When there is very little thick and sweet sauce (you should definitely try it) you can turn off the stove. It is ready.
  6. Eat it with bread, eat it with Couscous, cook it later with potatoes. This is some addictive stuff.

 

Tripolitanian pickles – Msier

I don’t really know how to name this salad in English, eventhough it is very common in north African cuisine, I couldn’t find it online. It is very simple to make and actually gets better after a day or two. This salad is also staple salad that goes side by side with Couscous , just like the Tirshi.  In any variation of this salad you can find at least carrots and celery. In addition, many hard vegetables like radishes, fennel,  cauliflower,  peppers etc’ can be added, depending on seasonality or availability. I usually make a very big bowl full of this salad, and like to eat it as a side dish along almost any meal following Friday night dinner (and even as a healthy snack in between meals). Kids love it to, so it’s a good way to serve veggies or introduce new veggies to your kids. When my two daughters were young, they were only eating the celery and carrot, but as they grew, they started to eat the rest of the veggies I put in this salad.

One small anecdote: I remember the first time I was joining my Tripolitanian grandmother for cooking a Friday dinner meal. I was coming with my big chef knife (that I always take with me) and was surprised to discover that she was only using a very simple knife (like the simplest steak knife) AND that she didn’t have a cutting board! She used to cut all of the  vegetables for all of the dishes and salads she made “in the air” when her thumb used to be used as a counter surface for the knife – you should have seen how fast and efficient she was working like that, very extraordinary! Thinking about sharing this salad with you reminded me this story because the veggies in this salad, when my grandma made it, were never even in shape or size, and it actually tasted better than everyone else’s version of this salad, since the thin parts get to be more pickled than the thick parts making the taste of a, say, carrot slightly different with each bite. After this cooking session, I try hard to cut my veggies for this salad in an uneven way 🙂

Ingredients:

5-7 carrots, cut into sticks

4-6 celery stalks cut into sticks – approximately the same size as the carrot sticks

1 fennel bulb cut into sticks

1/2 cauliflower cut into small florets

Juice from one big lemon

Salt to taste – about 2 tsp

Optional:

1 Jalapeno pepper seeded and cut lengthwise into 4-6 sticks

1 red bell pepper cut into sticks

5-10 radishes – halved

1 TBS of olive oil (optional)

Directions:

Mix well. it should be good to eat after one hour and for about 2-3 days. Store in the fridge.

Recipe at a glance:

Tripolitanian pickles - Msier
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 5-7 carrots, cut into sticks
  • 4-6 celery stalks cut into sticks - approximately the same size as the carrot sticks
  • 1 fennel bulb cut into sticks
  • ½ cauliflower cut into small florets
  • Juice from one big lemon
  • Salt to taste - about 2 tsp
  • Optional:
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper seeded and cut lengthwise into 4-6 sticks
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into sticks
  • 5-10 radishes - halved
  • 1 TBS of olive oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix well. it should be good to eat after one hour and for about 2-3 days. Store in the fridge.

Tunisian spicy jam of lemons

This is yet another authentic Tunisian recipe. After you make this recipe, you can put it in sandwiches (goes well with Tahini, Hummus) , add to your Couscous, rice, veggie patties, eat with Tofurky etc’. The flavor of this jam is slightly bitter, slightly sour and slightly sweet, I love it, and I always have a jar ready in my fridge. In addition, there are many Tunisian recipes that call for addition of this spicy lemon jam so I wanted to make sure you have the recipe before I post them.

When I happen to find lemons with a thick pith, I wash them thoroughly and right after squeezing the juice out, I freeze the halved lemons in a Ziploc and store in the freezer.

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When I have 6-8 frozen lemon half, I make this recipe.

Ingredients:

6-8 juiced lemon halves

9 TBS of sugar (for 3 times boiling)

4 TBS of oil

1 heaping TBS of Harissa

1 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Put the lemons in a pot and cover with water. Add 3 TBS of sugar and bring to boil.

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2. Drain using a sieve.

3. Repeat steps 1-2 twice. So overall, you will have to boil the Lemons with sugar 3 times. This process will ensure that a lot of the bitterness from the lemon pith will go away.

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4. Put the oil and the Harrisa in a small pot and fry the Harrisa for 2 minutes in a medium heat.

5. Cut the lemons into cubes and mix it into the Harrisa and oil.

6. Cover with water, add the 1 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water evaporated and the lemons are very soft.

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7. If the lemons are not soft enough, add a little bit of water and continue to cook. The jam is ready when the lemons are very soft and the liquid that is left is very thick.

Recipe at a glance:

Tunisian spicy jam of lemons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is yet another authentic Tunisian recipe. After you make this recipe, you can put it in sandwiches (goes well with Tahini, Hummus) , add to your Couscous, rice, veggie patties, eat with Tofurky etc'. The flavor of this jam is slightly bitter, slightly sour and slightly sweet, I love it, and I always have a jar ready in my fridge. In addition, there are many Tunisian recipes that call for addition of this spicy lemon jam so I wanted to make sure you have the recipe before I post them. When I happen to find lemons with a thick pith, I wash them thoroughly and right after squeezing the juice out, I freeze the halved lemons in a Ziploc and store in the freezer. When I have 6-8 frozen lemon half, I make this recipe.
Cuisine: North African
Ingredients
  • 6-8 juiced lemon halves
  • 9 TBS of sugar (for 3 times boiling)
  • 4 TBS of oil
  • 1 heaping TBS of Harissa
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Put the lemons in a pot and cover with water. Add 3 TBS of sugar and bring to boil.
  2. Drain using a sieve.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 twice. So overall, you will have to boil the Lemons with sugar 3 times. This process will ensure that a lot of the bitterness from the lemon pith will go away.
  4. Put the oil and the Harrisa in a small pot and fry the Harrisa for 2 minutes in a medium heat.
  5. Cut the lemons into cubes and mix it into the Harrisa and oil.
  6. Cover with water, add the 1 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water evaporated and the lemons are very soft.
  7. If the lemons are not soft enough, add a little bit of water and continue to cook. The jam is ready when the lemons are very soft and the liquid that is left is very thick.

 

Fried dill patties – Authentic Tunisian recipe

Fried dill has a very unique flavor. It is not similar to fresh dill and pretty distinct after you taste it several times. If you like it, it can become VERY addictive taste that you will long for.

I’ve learned this recipe from the Aunt of my grandmother, so this recipe is about 100 years old (at least).

Ingredients:
1 large onion diced fried until slightly brown.
4 cups of fresh dill – chopped
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves – chopped
2 TBS sesame seeds
4 TBS chickpea flour
4 TBS whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic – grated

Directions:

mix all the ingredients – make the patties with wet hands! Press hard on these patties to remove access liquids and to form a smooth as possible shape. Fry in about 1 cm Oil from both sides.

Serve with lemon wedges, tahini sauce and garnish with cilantro leaves. or in a sandwich with fresh tomato and lettuce.

You will thank me for this recipe. It is super delicious with a distinct fried dill flavor that you can’t miss. If you like it, you will make it over and over again.

Enjoy,

Guy

Recipe at a glance:

Fried dill patties - Authentic Tunisian recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fried dill has a very unique flavor. It is not similar to fresh dill and pretty distinct after you taste it several times. If you like it, it can become VERY addictive taste that you will long for. I've learned this recipe from the Aunt of my grandmother, so this recipe is about 100 years old (at least).
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion diced fried until slightly brown.
  • 4 cups of fresh dill - chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves - chopped
  • 2 TBS sesame seeds
  • 4 TBS chickpea flour
  • 4 TBS whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 clove of garlic - grated
Instructions
  1. mix all the ingredients - make the patties with wet hands! Press hard on these patties to remove access liquids and to form a smooth as possible shape. Fry in about 1 cm Oil from both sides.
  2. Serve with lemon wedges, tahini sauce and garnish with cilantro leaves. or in a sandwich with fresh tomato and lettuce.

 

Peas and Artichokes Stew – (Tunisian Recipe)

I’ve learned this recipe from my Tunisian grandmother. It goes well on Couscous or rice. This dish is full of flavor and protein (from the peas). You can safely freeze half of it and warm up later in the week. It is at its best with fresh Peas and fresh Artichoke hearts, but frozen will also work here.

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Ingredients:

1 package of Artichoke hearts – soaked in hot water, some salt and juice from half a lemon.

2 sweet onions

1 lbs of frozen peas or fresh peas (the best)

2 large tomatoes

1 bunch of parsley

1/4-1/2 cup of canola/safflower/sunflower oil

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tsp salt

2 tsp paprika

Directions:

1. Finely chop the onions, soak in a sieve put in a large bowl of salty water.

You want to extract out some of the spiciness of the onions and make them slightly softer.

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2. Finely chop the bunch of parsley. strain the onions, add to a pot the strained onions, the parsly, the salt and the oil, mix well. turn on the stove to a medium heat.

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3. Fry for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally until the onions are slightly golden and very soft and sweet. It will take about 1/3 of the volume of the onions and parsley before cooking (as seen in previous photo)

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4. Quarter the tomatoes, Add the Paprika, ground pepper and the tomatoes and mix well. My grandma is pealing the tomatoes before adding them to the pot. I take out the skins later.

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5. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally until all the tomatoes skins are of the tomatoes and you get a rich sauce.

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6. Add the peas, mix well and cook for about 5-10 minutes.

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7. With a fork, take the tomato skins out.

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8. Strain the Artichoke hearts, add to the pot and cover with about  1″ of boiling water.

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9. cook for about 15 more minutes.

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It is now ready. Serve on Rice or Couscous.

Peas and Artichokes Stew - (Tunisian Recipe)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I've learned this recipe from my Tunisian grandmother. It goes well on Couscous or rice. This dish is full of flavor and protein (from the peas). You can safely freeze half of it and warm up later in the week. It is at its best with fresh Peas and fresh Artichoke hearts, but frozen will also work here.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: North African
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Artichoke hearts - soaked in hot water, some salt and juice from half a lemon.
  • 2 sweet onions
  • 1 lbs of frozen peas or fresh peas (the best)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • ¼-1/2 cup of canola/safflower/sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
Instructions
  1. Finely chop the onions, soak in a sieve put in a large bowl of salty water. You want to extract out some of the spiciness of the onions and make them slightly softer.
  2. Finely chop the bunch of parsley. strain the onions, add to a pot the strained onions, the parsley, the salt and the oil, mix well. turn on the stove to a medium heat.
  3. Fry for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally until the onions are slightly golden and very soft and sweet. It will take about ⅓ of the volume of the onions and parsley before cooking
  4. Quarter the tomatoes, Add the Paprika, ground pepper and the tomatoes and mix well. My grandma is pealing the tomatoes before adding them to the pot. I take out the skins later.
  5. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally until all the tomatoes skins are of the tomatoes and you get a rich sauce.
  6. Add the peas, mix well and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. With a fork, take the tomato skins out.
  8. Strain the Artichoke hearts, add to the pot and cover with about 1" of boiling water.
  9. cook for about 15 more minutes.
  10. It is now ready. Serve on Rice or Couscous.

 

 

Making North African Couscous From scratch

Couscous is like bread in North African countries. Dozens of years ago, when my grandparents lived in Tripoli and Tunis, it was made each Friday and every Tuesday. It was the base for a special Friday evening (Shabbat) and every week, there was a different stew or a soup that goes with it. BTW, On Tuesdays, they used to make it because the bakeries were closed and no fresh bread could be bought.

When I grow up, Couscous was made by my mom and two grandmothers every Friday and everyone loved it. As I mentioned, it was served with a stew or a soup, but along that, many cooked and raw salads were served and everyone was adding from each salad to his Couscous plate while eating. It was a very rich weekly dinner that celebrated the beginning of the weekend (Shabbat). I’ve encountered instant Couscous at adulthood and I have to say that it is only a distant relative of the real thing, it is less fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It is probably similar to the differences between dry and fresh pasta  – you can REALLY feel it. So every time I make Couscous, I don’t even think about the instant version.

In future posts, I will most definitely post recipes for many salads, stews, soups and vegan-meatballs that go well with Couscous. At the bottom of this post, yo will find a recipe for Tirshi salad that is originally from Libia and is a staple salad when you eat the Couscous in this region of the Mediterranean.

Couscous with some salads on the table – Friday Family dinner

 

A plate with Couscous and peas and Artichoke stew with some salads on top

Before you start making Couscous you have to buy some kitchen gadgets 🙂

A Couscous steaming pot

Saw few in Amazon, here is one.

 

A Coarse Mesh Sieve (3mm hole) inside a big! metal bowl

The Couscous Sieve was very hard to find online, but I found something for you. And another one here.

The holes of the Sieve should be between 2mm-3mm for best results.

Couscous can be done without the Sieve (in a non traditional – our own family member invention that works quite well), but you will need a mixer like this:

Mixer

Or like this:

Mixer #2

 

ok, now we should be ready to start….

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs of Farina (Not semolina – which is used to make pasta dough. however in the UK, it is called semolina), also called Creamy wheat or Cream of wheat (http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Organic-24-Ounce/dp/B004VLVQ4I/)

1/4 Cup canola oil.

2 TBS of fine salt

3 cups of water.

 

Directions:

1. Fill (the bottom part of) the Couscous pot util about a 1/3 of its volume with water.

You can add two potatoes and a piece of a squash or a pumpkin in the water for later creating a special cooked salad called Tirshi (bonus recipe at the end of this post).

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2. Take  a paper towel, wet it with a little water and put it on the rims of the post. We would like that no steam will escape during the steaming process. Traditionally, people put farina dough on the rims to seal the pot. However, I find it to be very messy and wet paper towels work as well.

3. Now, put the top part, Turn on the stove on medium flame or heat and put the lid on. We have time now to prepare the Farina while we wait for steam to come out of the top part.

4. In a large bowl, put 2lbs of Farina with the 2 TBS of salt. mix.

5. Add one cup of water and mix with a whisk. Traditionally, you will do it with your hands but, again, I found the whisk to be less messy and works as well.

 

6. Now, you should pass the Farina through the Sieve. If you don’t have a Couscous Sieve, use a mixer to create finer grains.

7. With your hands, push the Farina grains through the Sieve. Making sure all the Farina had passed through the Sieve.

7. After the Farina had passed through the Sieve, the end result will be very fine grains. Add 1/2 cup of oil, and mix well with your hands.

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Now, the put should be already steaming:

8. Add the Farina to the steamer, cover with the lid and let it steam for 45 minutes.

 

9. After 45 minutes, pour the Couscous into a big Bowl, add another cup of water and using a whisk, mix very well so the extra water will be absorbed evenly. Those who like very fine grains can pass the Couscous through the Sieve again, but this is optional, the end result will be just fine without this extra process.

Here is the Couscous after I added another cup of water and used the Whisk to mix it well in.

10. Transfer the Couscous to the steaming pot again! the couscous seems to be ready now, but it is not. It needs more steaming to become a real melt-in-your-mouth fluff 🙂 This time, the volume of the Couscous will probably reach the top of the top part of the pot, as it had absorbed a lot of water during the first steaming process. Cover with the lid and steam for additional 45 minutes. Make sure that the paper towel is steal sealing well the two parts of the pot.

10. Transfer the Couscous into a large bowl, add another cup of water and whisk with a whisk.

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That’s it. 🙂 Might sound complicated with many steps, but once you get used to it, it is quite a simple process. Usually, while the Couscous is steaming, I will prepare a stew or a soup and many more Salads, so in about a couple of hours, I will have the Couscous, the Stew and at least 4-5 salads that will go well with the couscous at Friday evening dinner.

 

Bonus Recipe – Tirshi

Remember I told you to add some potatoes and squash (works the best with Kabocha squash or butternut squash) to the Couscous pot? Besides adding some flavor to the steams that flavors the Couscous a little, We will use these to make the stable salad for Couscous called Tirshi.

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Ingredients:

Juice from 1 big lemon

3 garlic cloves, grated or minced.

2 TBS Paprika

1 TBS salt

 

Directions:

1. Put the lemon juice, Garlic, Paprika and Salt into a Bowl.

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2. Add the potatoes and squash to the bowl and using a spoon mush it together.

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3. The end result consistency should be more like a paste and less like a mushed potato, so if it is too dry, add some of the water the potatoes and Squash were cooking in.

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4. Here is the final texture. Serve along with the Couscous.

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