08 March 2013

What We Brought Home from the Market


Someone commented recently that I should post more pictures of Algiers here, and while I would like to take more photos of Algiers, a recent news story came to mind. A young man was here as part of a delegation, something to do with preserving the old buildings of Algiers, and he was out taking a photo of an historic building when police came up and began questioning him. The foreigner was detained by the police for a day before the matter was sorted out and he was released. (For French speakers, this story was in Tout Sur Algerie). So, unfortunately, I'm not very brave about taking photos.

Until I am confident enough to take photos of the markets here, I thought I would share some pictures of what we brought home from the market this week. As usual, I went a little overboard at Premier Mai. We got some usual things like pumpkin, frisee lettuce, swiss chard and the like. Here are some of the more uniquely Algerian items we picked up.


Desert Truffles - lots of vendors had these, and while I'd seen them before in Syria I'd never bought one. These truffles occur in the desert where lightning strikes and when just the right amount of other magical elements occur. They are somewhat potato-like and I have a couple recipes for tagines with them. (Bedouins apparently call them the potatoes of thunder.)


Lamb's Liver - Yes, I bought this huge liver, and let's just say it was not cheap. At my last physical exam I was told I had severe B12-deficiency anemia, so since then I take supplements and try to eat liver on occasion. I particularly like a quick saute of chicken liver with pomegranate molasses and lots of caramelized onions. Lamb's liver is new to me, I admit I have no idea what I'm going to do with this thing.


Green Pepper Dip and Pickled Cauliflower - The guy at the market told me the name of the green pepper dip but I have already forgotten it (mshay, shmay? oy, Algerian dialect is so weird). It is quite common, and is sort of a cousin to felfel. A lot of people mix in some green olives when they serve this with kesra bread as an appetizer.


Turkey Merguez - We love the local merguez here, it is fantastic, but also rather artery-clogging. I had never seen any other sausage here, and I'm excited to try this turkey version. It smells deliciously of garlic.


Spices - I needed some ginger but of course couldn't resist getting some other things as well. I got the tagine spice mix and some piment fort, which I have been warned is extremely spicy.


Quinces and Little Asian Pears -  It's the end of the season for quince, so I thought I'd make some more to have for dessert this week.


I'd never seen these peppers in the market, but the red ones are the ones used to make harissa. So of course I had to buy them. 


Some date filled semolina cakes to take to the office.


Haim Toeg said...

I believe the green pepper dip is called Meshwia and is made of fire roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions with garlic and olive oil and some spices.

Britt said...

Everything looks delicious. I am fascinated by the potatoes of thunder that are caused by lightning.

Mercedes said...

Yay! I was hoping someone would comment and tell me what the pepper dip was. I remembered meshw-something, but was confused because of the resemblance to "stuffed." Thanks!

Bee said...

Hi Mercedes

It is lovely to see all the fresh produce from the market. The Truffles is something we get in Iraq as well where it is called Chima and is also associated with thunder and lightning. It is usually boiled whole and once tender, it is either eaten chopped and used as a sandwich filler on its own or with boiled egg and parsley seasoned with salt and pepper. The alternative is to chop the truffle, fry it with onions and then cook it with rice using the fluid in which the truffle was boiled possibly after adding chicken stock as well. Many people get it in season, parboil it and then freeze it to use another time.


Haim Toeg said...

Assuming you can read Arabic:

Meshwi = Grilled = مشوي
Mahshi = Stuffed = محشي

lynn2mary said...

My mother always sauted liver with bacon and onions. But you probably can't get bacon in Algeria.