Monday, October 8, 2007

Aïd-el-Fitr October 11-13.

For all my Muslim readers (back home mostly, I'm not sure I know any Muslim here?), this week will be the end of the Ramadan with the Aïd-el-Fitr holiday coming up on October 11.
In anticipation of the celebration I'm linking to this great blog with North African recipes with a creative twist. FYI, my dear Anglo readers, North African cuisine is not limited to "Morrocan": do you know that Harissa mainly comes from Tunisia, Couscous (the dish, not the semolina kind) is from Algeria (as well as Chorba and Loubia) and Tagines are from Morocco?

Here's another link to a site of Algerian recipes, and to a blog where recipes comes from the Algiers region. The latter takes forever to load but is well worth the wait.
Here are a few links for Tunisian recipes, and to depart from the Aïd-el-Fitr holiday here's a link to Jewish Tunisian Recipes. There's a rich Sephardi tradition in Tunisia and the food is fabulous. This one is all videos.

I'm sorry all these sites are in French but I'm sure those of you who had to endure High School French can figure them out. As for the ingredients, you can find feuilles de brick as well as blanched almond meal at Surfas (don't substitute filo), and many of the other ingredients (orange blossom water, rose water, etc.) in Westwood at Persian grocery stores. They also sometimes carry pistachios from Iran, the best on the planet (not Sicilian, mind you, even less the California variety: Iranian are darker and more flavorful).
As for Merguez, I gave up, as there's nothing in LA that's anywhere close to the real deal. For fine grain couscous Monsieur Marcel sometimes carry it.
One of my favorite pastries aside from Cornes de Gazelles (super easy to make) are zlabias, surprisingly there are some Indian pastries that look and taste exactly the same. You can sometimes find them at India Sweets and Spices. A word of caution: zlabias are super-sweet, so you want to eat only one with many, many glasses of (unsweetened) mint tea.

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