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Tastira (Tunisian fried peppers and eggs) recipe

Tastira (Tunisian fried peppers and eggs) recipe

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I learnt this recipe from my mother-in-law in Tunisia. Serve with sliced crusty bread.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 100g mild chillies, chopped
  • 225g green peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 350g tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Mash the garlic, caraway seeds and pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the chillies; cook and stir until they have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the green peppers and tomatoes until the peppers are soft and the tomatoes have started to break down, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, then combine the tomato-pepper mixture with the chillies. Stir in the mashed garlic and caraway seeds. Spoon the vegetables onto plates or a serving platter.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Fry the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are the desired consistency, about 2 to 3 minutes for runny yolks, 4 to 5 minutes for fully set yolks. Place the fried eggs on the vegetable mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Editor's note

Tastira can be hot or mild, depending upon the type of chillies used.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(10)

Reviews in English (7)

by Elvira Silva

Tasty, delicious and healthy! I didn't want this to be spicy because my two toddlers were eating it too so I only used a combination of 1 jalapeno seeded and red and yellow bell pepers, only used half tablespoon of caraway seeds but next time I'll use the full amount (interesting but lovely adittion to the dish) and instead of fresh tomatoes I used one can of diced tomatoes (didn't have fresh). We ate this with a side of potatoes that I sliced thinly and fried with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and some toast. One more to the recipe box! Thanks Asma and mother in law for sharing your recipe! Elvira Silva.-29 Aug 2010

by FrancesC

I really enjoyed this—it was a quick, easy dinner. I used a combination of peppers I got from the farmers’ market; next time I’ll pick a few spicier varieties. Five stars for the fact that it’s an interesting flavor combination I never would’ve thought of, it’s easy, and the leftover peppers made a great sandwich spread!-10 Nov 2009

Complet Poisson

Let’s head to La Goulette, in Tunisia, to discover the recipe of its legendary complet poisson.

What is the origin of Complet Poisson?

In Tunisian coastal towns, and especially in La Goulette, and on the islands, fishing is one of the most popular activities. It is the reason for the additional guarantee of being able to enjoy delicious fish dishes at home or in the best Tunisian restaurants or to buy excellent fresh fish at the port or at the market.

La Goulette is precisely where the complet poisson was born. La Goulette (حلق الوادي) is a Tunisian city that hosts the main port of Tunis, the capital of the country. It is located about 6 miles (10 km) north-east of Tunis.

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The famous Bichi restaurant was one of La Goulette’s institutions. Bichi was nicknamed “the king of the complet poisson”.

It was a small house on the ground floor with tables installed on the sidewalk of the main avenue of La Goulette, Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, where the most famous complet poisson was served. Tunisian Jews claimed that Bichi’s complet poisson, its pkaila, and akod were among the seven wonders of the world.

Bichi closed at the end of the 1970s, giving way to the Vert Galant restaurant, which also gave way to today’s famous Café Vert, which also serves one of the best complet poisson in the country.

How to make complet poisson

The complet poisson is an essential dish of Tunisian cuisine. It is a combination of a fried or sometimes grilled fish (whole fish with head and tail), French fries, a fried egg, a fried red or green hot pepper, fried vegetables, and usually tastira.

It is very common for some to replace the tastira with slata méchouia, the equivalent of the hmiss of Algerian cuisine or the makbouba that is similar to the taktouka of Moroccan cuisine.

Tastira (Arabic: تسطيرة) is a mixture of fried green peppers and tomatoes the mixture is then salted and sometimes garnished with olive oil, lemon, tabel, black pepper, green olives and parsley. It is sometimes added to scrambled egg and the whole is traditionally sliced ​​with two well sharpened knives.

As for the choice of fish: the complet poisson is served with mullet (milla or bouri in Tunisia), red mullet (trilia), sea bass (karous), sea bream (warka or ouarata) or sole (madas) or tuna and the ultimate is the fatty tuna. It goes without saying that when it comes to tuna, it will be a tuna fillet and not a whole tuna in a single plate.

Tunisian cuisine

Tunisian cuisine is colorful, tasty and spicy and the fruit of the civilizations that have written its history such as the Berbers, the Punics, the Arabs, the Jews, the Turks but also the Romans and the French. It is the undisputed cuisine of the sun.

Positioned strategically on the Mediterranean and with a hinterland in some very fertile regions, Tunisia is developed in the areas of fishing, breeding and agriculture.

In fact, it offers a variety of fish and meat dishes, especially mutton, lamb, and camel accompanied by Italian bread and seasoned with olive oil and local spices such as paprika, cumin and tabel, the typical Tunisian spice blend, all flavored with fresh cilantro, or kosbor as they call it over there.

Tunisian cuisine has ancestral roots: the first recipes were passed from mother to daughter, from generation to generation, or through word of mouth.

Tunisian cuisine is not only couscous, but an incredible world of flavors and colors that trace a very old culinary tradition.

Hot pepper is one of the favorite ingredients of Tunisia, the undisputed capital of “hot pepper cooking” on the Mediterranean and North African coast. To better understand, you can just observe the red or green peppers stacked by hundreds on the stalls of the numerous souks of each Tunisian city.

It is so popular in Tunisia and now around the world. It is the sauce or condiment called harissa.

In Tunisia, there is no more emblematic preparation than harissa, although it has spread over time throughout North Africa. It is a sauce based on red hot pepper, garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt with a varying degree of spiciness but which tends to be strong.

It is always present on all tables and it is served as an appetizer, always with tuna and olives it is often added in other preparations such as akod, merguez, felfel mehchi, batata bel kamoune, or even the ojja and finally, it is also found in different sandwiches such as fricassés.

Tunisians use pepper in different ways: green as a simple vegetable, sliced ​​in many salads, grilled or fried to accompany roast meat or fish, stewed to accompany couscous, or simply in brine.

When fully mature, red bell peppers and hot peppers are sun-dried, then their seeds are removed before being ground. In order to tame the hot pepper, Tunisians often serve a slice of frozen melon as a “fire extinguisher of the palate”.

There is a story that says that the wise man must judge the love of his wife to the amount of pepper used in the preparation of her food. If the food is bland, the clever man must suspect that the fire of her passion for him has extinguished.

In Tunisia, couscous with lamb or fish is undoubtedly the national dish. Other basic recipes are tajine maadnous, common throughout the Maghreb region, a cross between a pie and a soufflé, the most classic being made from lamb, or lablabi, an excellent chickpea soup.

The big stars of Tunisian appetizers are egg bricks or tuna bricks, slata méchouia mentioned above, and baid bi-timatim which is none other than the famous shakshuka.

Among the traditional desserts, samsa is very popular, just like makroud, debla (manicotti), and baklava, which are eaten with mint tea and roasted pine nuts.

To accompany all these dishes, whether savory or sweet, no one would resist a delicious fresh lemonade!

Red cuisine (cuisine rouge)

Tunisian cuisine is nicknamed “red cuisine” because the vast majority of dishes include at least those three ingredients: tomato (often tomato paste), dried red pepper (nõra), and harissa.

This does not mean that Tunisian dishes are always red. There are very common preparations, such as couscous with dried fruits, in which other non-red spices are used or like mloukhia for example.

Thus, the main reason why Tunisian cuisine is called “red” is because it has many more dishes of this color than other cuisines, starting with the couscous which, in Tunisia, will be almost always more colorful than anywhere else.

Fish in Tunisia

In Tunisia, fish is not always used in cooking but also appears on amulets, pendants, keychains, decorative objects. Fish can be seen everywhere. Fish has always been the star since the dawn of time.

Fish, or houta for the Tunisians, was already associated among the Phoenicians to the cult of Tanit, Carthaginian goddess. It represented luck and prolificity.

In the early Christian religion, fish was a sign of recognition among the Christians pursued in Rome while, in the Jewish religion, it protected against the evil eye, as attested by this sentence of the Talmud: “The fish of the sea, covered by the waters on which the evil eye is powerless “.

Later, the Muslims made it the sign of vigilance because fish never close their eyes.

By extension, it was decided that fish keeps the evil eye away and brings good luck.

Moreover, during wedding ceremonies in Bizerte or Sfax, the groom turns several times around a fish to ward off the evil one. There is also a famous Tunisian dish called the poisson malin (hout hmiïmi or “evil fish”).

Chakchouka (or Shakshouka) is a Tunisian dish of tomatoes, onions, pepper, spices and eggs. It's popular throughout North Africa and Israel. It is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, but it's tasty anytime! Serve with crusty bread.

A dish I developed for a food course. Doesn't take too long to make and is a nice alternative to every day meals! All the family will love it.

Fish Kabab

Fish (1 kg),
2 boneless and skinned lemons,
Coriander leaves (12 cups),
4 well chopped green chilies,
1 teaspoon cumin (well chopped), 1 White teaspoon black pepper (roasted and ground),
Freshly ground 1 teaspoon red chili powder
Eggs (2),
Trodden. Bread crumbs
Vinegar (1 tablespoon )
Oil for frying.

1. Rinse the pieces of fishes with garlic and salt. Then put the fish pieces on a burning saucepan on low heat and spray vinegar on them. Remove the moisture completely and keep it in a cool place away from the hot saucepan.
2. Mix well after adding all the spices including the fresh green chilies and coriander.
3. Separate the mixture into equal pieces (about 1820).
4. Make 1/2 inch thick flat round shapes.
3. Plunge the fish kabobs first into the egg and then into the bread crumbs.
4. Fry it in hot oil. Drain it using kitchen paper towel.
5. Serve them immediately.

Daal Mash

1 cup of Mash daal.
1 small Onion.
2-3 round Red Chilies.
Add salt according to taste or add 1 teaspoon salt.
Ground Red chili 1 tsp.
2-3 Green chilies for garnishing.
Garlic (1 teaspoon).
Ginger (1teaspoon).
half cup of cooking Oil.

Fry the onions until it gets brown, add 1 cup of water and cook it in medium heat. Crush onions while you are stirring.
Keep on stirring it while you are adding the garlic and ginger, and now it’s time to add all the dry ingredients.
Add the daal and stir well, keep on stirring the mixture untill you observe the oil is separated from the daal.
Add one cup of water, boil the water and then reduce it to lower flame to low and cover the saucepan with a lid.
Cook for about 10-15 minutes.
When you are done embellish the item with green chilies.

Tastira (Fried Peppers and Eggs of Tunisia)

Servings: 4

4 cloves diced garlic,
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt according to taste
Olive oil (approximately 3 tablespoons)
2/3 cup of soft and chopped Chile peppers,
1 1/2 cups green seeded and chopped bell peppers,
Seeded and chopped tomatoes (2 cups),
4 eggs
Ground black pepper

Crush the garlic, caraway seeds, and tweak of salt in a mortar and grind it in the mixing bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat, taken in a skillet. Stir it properly in the Chile peppers Heat it and stir it for 5 minutes until the peppers are softened. Take the mixture away from the skillet and set it aside. Append an additional tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat the bell peppers and tomatoes for 5 more minutes until the peppers are pliable and the tomatoes start to break down. Add the tomato-bell pepper mix to the hot peppers. Stir it properly in the mashed garlic and caraway seeds. Place the vegetables onto plates or a serving platter.

Heat up rest of the oil in the skillet. Fry the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are the desired consistency, about 2 to 3 minutes for runny yolks, 4 to 5 minutes for fully set yolks. Put the fried eggs on the vegetable blend and taste it with salt and pepper.

Almond Dukkah

Servings: 24
Coriander seeds approximately 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
Fennel seeds-1 teaspoon
1/2 cup ready dry-roasted almonds
Ground cumin-2 tablespoons
Fresh thyme-1 teaspoon
Sea salt or kosher salt-2 teaspoons
Pita bread or hearty, crispy dipping bread
Olive oil

Heat a heavy skillet over low to medium heat. Stir it often, toast coriander seeds, sesame seeds, peppercorns and fennel seeds until it is slightly brown and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Before transferring it to food processor, keep it in a cool place. Put in almonds, cumin, thyme and salt. Grind until it gets crumbly but don’t allow the mixture to become a paste. Serve Dukkah in a bowl or plate and keep a bowl or plate of olive oil and bread. Firstly plunge the bread in olive oil and then in Almond Dukkah. Serve as an appetizer and healthy snack.

Badam (Almond) Sherbet

Servings: 4

Milk-2 cups
Heavy cream- 2 tablespoons
Finely ground almonds-1 cup
Confectioners' sugar- 1/2 cup
Rose water- 2 tablespoons

Mingle the milk, cream, ground almonds, confectioners' sugar, and rosewater in a food processor, and mix together for approximately 1 minute until it is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Serve it over ice.

Veggie Bulgur Salad (Kisir)

Servings: 6

Fine bulgur- 1 cup
Boiling water- 1 cup
Olive oil- 2 tablespoons
Well chopped- 1 onion
2 finely chopped large tomatoes
1 diced cucumber,
2 finely chopped green bell peppers,
1 well chopped red bell pepper,
7 finely chopped green onions,
Crushed fresh parsley- 1/2 cup
Minced fresh mint leaves- 1/2 cup
Red pepper flakes- 1 teaspoon,
Olive oil- approximately 2 tablespoons
Juice of fresh lemon (1)
Pomegranate molasses- 2 tablespoons

Keep the bulgur in a bowl and stir it in the boiling water. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it stand for 20 minutes. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Stir it with the chopped onion cook it for 5 minutes and stir it until the onion is soft and turns lucid. Exhaust the bulgur and put it in the bowl. Add the cooked onion, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, green and red bell peppers, green onions, mint, red pepper flakes and parsley. Sparkle 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, and the pomegranate molasses. Mix it gently until the salad is thoroughly combined. Keep it in a refrigerator until it is served.

Kebab Massalam

Servings: 5
Ground lamb-1 pound,
Minced garlic- 2 cloves,
Well chopped green Thai chili peppers- 2,
Chopped onion- 1,
Crushed coriander seeds- 2 tablespoons,
Plain yogurt- 2 tablespoons,
Ground turmeric- 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon juice- 1 tablespoon
6 inches bamboo skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes - 5,
2 Red bell peppers (seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces).

Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Lightly grease a broiling pan. Combine together the lamb, garlic, chili peppers, onion, coriander, yogurt, turmeric, lemon juice, and salt with hands until they are very well mixed. Roll the mixture into 15 meatballs. Separate chunks of red bell pepper and thread three meatballs onto each skewer. Position them onto the baking pan.

Boil for 5 minutes before turning the skewers over. Prolong the boiling for approximately 5 minutes until no longer it is pink in the center.

Hummus from Scratch

Servings: 8
Dry garbanzo beans (3/4 cup),
Dried soybeans (1/4 cup),
1 bay leaf,
1 onion (quartered),
Vegetable broth (1 cup),
Water (3 cups),
Crushed garlic (2 cloves),
1 Fresh lemon,
Soy sauce (2 tablespoons),
Black pepper,
Tahini (1/4 cup),
Chopped fresh parsley (1/4 cup).

Wash the garbanzos and soybeans properly. Put garbanzos and soybeans in a pressure cooker along with the bay leaf and onion. Add vegetable broth and sufficient water to cover the beans by 1 inch (check once the manufacturer's instructions for the minimum requisite amount of liquid).

Cover the saucepan with the lid and bring the pressure up to high. Then reduce the heat to the lower level and cook for 1 hour, maintaining high pressure. Allow the pressure to go down naturally.

Drain the beans but reserve the liquid. Put the beans in a food processor. Mingle the garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, black pepper, and tahini and process the mixture until it is smooth. You may also include some of the cooking liquid for a thinner consistency according to your need. Mix it in the parsley after scooping the combination into a bowl.

Baba Ghanoush

Serving: 12

1 eggplant,
Lemon juice- 1/4 cup,
Tahini- 1/4 cup,
Sesame seeds- 2 tablespoons,
Minced garlic- 2 cloves,
Salt and pepper
Olive oil- 1 1/2 tablespoons

Lightly grease a baking sheet after preheating the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Put the eggplant on the boiling sheet, and use a fork to make holes in the skin. Heat it for 30 to 40 minutes, until it is soft.

Place it into a large bowl of cold water after removing it from the oven. Drain it and unwrap the skin.

Put the eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in an electric mixer, and puree.

Add salt and pepper according to taste.

Relocate the eggplant mixture to a bowl, and mix olive oil into the mixture slowly. Keep the mixture in a refrigerator for 3 hours before serving it.

Beef Samosas

Serving: 18

2 large peeled potatoes,
1 cup thawed frozen peas,
Vegetable oil- 2 tablespoons,
Cumin seeds-1/2 teaspoon,
1 trodden bay leaf,
2 thinly chopped large onions,
1 pound ground beef
4 cloves crushed garlic,
1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger root,
Ground black pepper- 1/2 teaspoon,
Salt- 1 1/2 teaspoons,
Ground cumin-1 teaspoon,
Ground coriander- 1 teaspoon,
Ground turmeric 1 teaspoon,
Chili powder-1 teaspoon,
Ground cinnamon- 1/2 teaspoon,
Ground cardamom- 1/2 teaspoon,
Chopped fresh cilantro- 2 tablespoons,
Finely chopped green chile peppers- 2 tablespoons,
1 quart oil for deep frying,
1 package phyllo dough (1 package= 16 ounce).

Boil lightly salted water in a saucepan. Stir the water with potatoes and peas. Cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender enough but still firm. Drain the mixture, mash it together and set aside.

Use a saucepan to heat the oil in a medium to high temperature. Simmer the cumin seeds and bay leaf until it gets brown. Blend the onions and ground beef with the preparation.

Cook approximately for 5 minutes until the beef is evenly brown and onions are pliable and mix in garlic, fresh ginger root.

Mollify the mixture with black pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon and cardamom.

Whip in the mashed potato mixture.

Take the mixture away from the heat and keep it in a refrigerator for 1 hour.

Take oil in a large saucepan and heat it in a high temperature.

Mix up cilantro and green chile peppers into the mixture of potato and beef.

Put roughly 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto each phyllo sheet.

Fold the sheets into triangles, pressing the edges of the triangles together with moistened fingers.

Fry it approximately for 3 minutes until it is golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve the item.


Servings: 6

Cubed lamb meat- 1 pound,
Ground turmeric-1 teaspoon,
Ground black pepper-1 1/2 teaspoons,
Ground cinnamon-1 teaspoon,
Ground ginger-1/4 teaspoon,
Ground cayenne pepper- 1/4 teaspoon,
Margarine-2 tablespoons,
Chopped celery-3/4 cup,
1 finely chopped onion, chopped
1 chopped red onion,
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro,
1 can diced tomatoes (1 can= 29 ounce),
Water (7 cups),
Green lentils (3/4 cup),
1 can drained garbanzo beans (1 can= 15 ounce),
Vermicelli pasta-4 ounces,
2 beaten eggs,
Lemon juice (1 Lemon).

Heat the mixture of the lamb, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, butter, celery, onion, and cilantro into a large saucepan over a low temperature and whip it frequently for 5 minutes. Pour tomatoes into the combination and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Pour tomato juice, 7 cups water, and the lentils into the saucepan. Heat the mixture over the boiling temperature and then reduce the heat to simmer. Let soup simmer, and keep it covered by lid, for 2 hours.

Heat the mixture over a high temperature for 10 minutes before serving it and place the chickpeas and noodles into the soup. Cook the mixture for 10 more minutes. Stir it with lemon and eggs. Again cook it for 1 minute.

3. Tunisian Ojja

Tunisian Ojja is a well-known appetizer, given the ease and speed with which it can be prepared. The main ingredients are eggs, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices (garlic, salt, pepper kohl and cumin), all of which are cooked in olive oil. Other ingredients can be added such as margarine or seafood. By adding potatoes or other vegetables, the omelette becomes a shakshuka. It differs in Egypt, where it is called koshari. Wheat flour is added to the ingredients and it is put in the oven for five minutes until it browns, then it is cut up and served hot.

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  • Then, pour the eggs over the sausage, peppers

Italian "Fried" Peppers

  • Season the outside of the peppers with salt & pepper
  • In a bowl tear the bread into small pieces and add 1/3 cup of olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt & .pepper.

Pepper & egg sandwiches for Lent — where to find them in

Italian-American Catholics in particular love “pepper ’n eggs,” which are usually made with green peppers cooked until they’re soft, scrambled eggs, crispy Italian or French bread and

Main dishes

Couscous is the national dish of Tunisia which can be prepared in many ways, and known as the best couscous of North Africa. It is cooked in a special kind of double boiler called a kiska:s in Arabic or couscoussière in French, resembling a Chinese steamer atop a Mongolian pot.

Meats, vegetables and spices are cooked in the lower pot. Cooking steam rises through the vents in the next stage. It is layered with whole herbs such as bay leaves and covered with fine grain couscous. The couscous pasta is therefore cooked with aromatic steam. During the cooking process, the couscous needs to be regularly stirred with a fork to prevent lumping in the manner of the risotto.

Choice meats are traditionally lamb (kousksi bil ghalmi) or chicken (kousksi bil djaj). But with regional flair, one can substitute either meat with red snapper, grouper (kousksi bil mannani), sea bass (kousksi bil warqua), hare (kousksi bil arnab) or quail (kousksi bil hjall).

And although there are many ways to prepare and compose the dish, a classic recipe would call for the following ingredients: salted butter, bell peppers, shallots, Spanish onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, chick peas, chili pepper, hrissa, celery, cinnamon, black peppercorn, carrots, turnips and squash. The idea is that the dish contains many vegetables so, so long as you use a variety of Mediterranean ingredients, you are doing alright.

For the dish presentation, first layer the couscous in a mound, then layer the vegetables and, finally position the meat. Finish the presentation with a drizzle from the sauce and sprinkle some fresh parsley, basil or mint (for lamb and mouton).

Substituting the fine grain couscous for orzo, rice, Israeli couscous or barley is not acceptable. In some regions, a medium grain couscous is seldom used.

A short list of typical Tunisian dishes would include: brik (a fried phyllo dough stuffed with tuna and an egg), tajin (like a frittata or a quiche), shorba (soups), slata (salads), marqua (stews), rishta (pastas), samsa (a popular pastry), kifta (ground meat), kaak (pastries), gnawiya (gombos), merguez (lamb sausage) and shakshouka (ratatouille).

Unlike Moroccan tajines, a tajine in Tunisia usually refers to a kind of "quiche", without a crust, made with beaten eggs, grated cheese, meat and various vegetable fillings, and baked like a large cake.

A popular seafood speciality is the 'poisson complet' or the complete fish. The entire fish, excluding internal organs, is prepared and fire-grilled but, it can be fried, grilled or sautéed. It is accompanied with potato chips and, either mild or spicy, tastira. The peppers are grilled with a little tomato, a lot of onion and a little garlic, all of which is finely chopped and served with an egg poached or sunny side up. Sprinkle with fresh parsley finely chopped, a drizzle of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Peas and Patience

On Saturday I made akara, a Ghanaian black-eyed pea fritter. Though this may seem like an unremarkable event, I was amazed for two reasons:

1) Carolyn's cooking bylaw number 134 -- which states that the longer than expected a dish takes to prepare, the more likely it is to be a complete disaster -- received its most serious challenge to date.
2) I discovered that dried beans do not have to cook in a pot in order to be edible.

I was so taken back that the following day I bored at least two people at a brunch by reviewing these discoveries in detail. Now it is your turn.

Akara are a snack food from Ghana. You begin by soaking black-eyed peas for a few hours until the skins loosen and, theoretically, can be rubbed off. I soaked and soaked, but some of the beans really required more of a peeling than a rubbing to shed their skin. In my head, I could imagine a group of Ghanaian women sitting in a convivial circle under a shady tree, each with her bowl of black-eyed peas, gossiping about the neighbors and conferring about this year's crops. In this setting, rubbing the skins off of black-eyed peas might be quite a sociable, enjoyable affair. Standing under a naked florescent light bulb for an hour by yourself with a swarm of mosquitoes biting at your ankles is less fun. And every minute that passed, I was thinking to myself, there is no WAY these darn fritters are going to be worth it.

The skinned black-eyed peas looked as funny as leopards without their spots. I put the snowy-white beans in the food processor and added a bit of water until I had a paste. I added spices and minced onions and peppers, and began heating oil in a fry pan. It was at this point that I realized -- these beans are only going to cook for a few minutes! Can it be possible? I was convinced, more than ever, that the dish would end in calamity.

But, somehow, it worked. The fritters fried up nicely. They were a bit bland -- I'll be more generous with the spices next time -- but it was nothing a little hot sauce couldn't fix. The fitters would be great served in a pita like falafel, or with a side salad. Although the beans themselves aren't very flavorful, they could absorb many interesting flavor combos. Next time, I'll try some curried fritters, or maybe a fresh herb version. That is, once I find someone to sit with me and chat as I skin those beans!

There are numerous akara recipes on the Web, all fairly similar. I worked from this one .

Akara (Black-eyed Pea Fritters)
Makes 24-30 fritters

2 cups / 270 grams dried black-eyed peas
1 onion, minced
½ teaspoon / 2.5 milliliters salt
1 chili pepper, minced
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying

Rinse peas under running water and then soak them in a bowl of water for a few hours or overnight. After they are soaked, rub them together between your hands to remove their skins. Rinse again to wash the skins away. Drain.

Put the beans in a food processor and slowly add water until they turn into a thick paste that will just stick to the back of a spoon. Add onion, salt, chili pepper, and cayenne. Mix well. Ensure the bottom of the pan is covered with oil and set over medium to medium-high heat. Fry spoonfuls of the batter, turning over after a few minutes until each side is golden brown.

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第6位 African and Caribbean Cookbook 2: Tales and Recipes from the Motherland (English Edition)


African and Caribbean Cookbook 2 – A Cookbook of worth!

Tales & Recipes from the Motherland Book 2 captures the spices and flavours of African and Caribbean dishes with parents in the UK linking their favourite food with happy memories of li

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