North African Recipes

Mediterranean Sea has along its shore one of the ancient civilizations. As a matter of fact it has played a major role in devising these civilizations as we see these today. North Africa is one of such examples that are widely influenced by the Mediterranean impact. Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria are the countries that make the North of Africa with the Mediterranean Sea along their sides. Just like the geography and history of this region, North American recipes or North African cuisine is marked by diversity. It is one of the richest cuisines which thousand years of history associated with it.

When we talk about the diversity we have to look into the history of this region. It is not a matter of few years or decades; it dates back to centuries. Over the passage of time the region was influenced by those who came here as tourist, those who invaded the region, those who migrated to North Africa and those who came here for trade. With the addition of every new ingredient the North African cuisine took a new shape. When we see at the ingredients today we see influence of various nations like Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Berbers, Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and even America. Even the most common ingredients of Moroccan recipes are surprisingly not native; sausages, wheat, semolina, couscous, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, olive oil (which was though produced natively yet was used only for medicinal or religious rituals earlier), tomatoes, potatoes and chili pepper to name few.

Even the various regions of North Africa are diverse in their food recipes. The north western regions take most of the influence from the Berber, Arab and to some extent European culinary rituals. On the other hand North Eastern African cuisine of Libya and Egypt is shaped heavily by the Turkish influence who introduced many desserts to North African cuisine.  Some of the North Eastern countries like Algeria and Tunisia take the ingredients and techniques from French and Italian cuisines. Moroccan cuisine yet has a distinct style of its own in spite of being heavily influenced by the ancient people who resided this part of Africa for one or the other reason.

North African recipes include various ingredients pertaining to all food groups including vegetables, whole grains, meat and fruit etc. Meat makes an important element of many North African recipes. Seafood is also extensively used in the dishes. Olives, pine nuts and almonds are other ingredients that are used in every second North African dish. No North African dish will be so delicious and aromatic without the hint of herbs and spices. Paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and natively grown saffron are used in most of North African recipes. Commonly used herbs include mint, parsley and coriander. Another specialty of North African dishes is the earthenware called Tajine with different dishes associated with the pot in different regions of North Africa.

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