Zviti: Traditional Algerian Chili Dish

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Cooking is a good way to learn about the history of a particular country or region. Through it, we observe population movements, openings, or, on the contrary, withdrawals. Through it, we observe the level of civilization and development. We do not cook the same way in the countryside or in a large megalopolis.

We could decline these assertions for a long time to come. But what matters is that cooking tells us stories, describes lives, and that’s exciting. We all have childhood memories, close to our grandmothers, aunts, in our regions or countries of origin, that we watched cooking, our eyes shining with admiration.

Zviti (Z’fiti) is a traditional culinary specialty from Bou Saâda from the highlands of Algeria. It is a pancake crushed in a mortar with a very spicy preparation of chili, a very famous tasty dish of M’sila in the same way as the local chakhchoukha (shredded leaves served with a red sauce with chickpeas).

It is delicious and very easy. It is well embellished with coriander and fresh tomatoes, garlic, and its main ingredient the chili but very hot pepper… All these are mixed and crushed in the mortar and preferably served as is the tradition. a spicy preparation to make you sweat.

And in order to give it an even more rustic character, this “fire dish”, ideal and very popular as an accompaniment, is presented on a special table pierced with a hole in the middle, intended to accommodate the wooden pestle (the mehras) where it was prepared. The spicy salad is taken directly from the pestle by the commensals who savor it by wiping their foreheads and, sometimes, by gasping, the throat being severely tested by the spiciness of this dish that some restaurateurs nevertheless try to soften by reducing the dose of pepper compared to the tomato or by adding olive oil or natural butter.

The dish we are preparing today comes from Bou Saada, a mountainous region located in the highlands at an altitude of over 1300 m. Zviti, or “chlada mahrez” (salad in a mortar) consists of pounding in a large mortar some still hot and malleable pancake, with a mixture of tomatoes, peppers, peppers, garlic, fennel seeds … This dish has the particularity of being eaten in the mortar used for its preparation.

Zviti: Traditional Algerian Chili Dish

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 30 min Total Time 45 mins Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Description

The dish we are preparing today comes from Bou Saada, a mountainous region located in the highlands at an altitude of over 1300 m. Zviti, or "chlada mahrez" (salad in a mortar) consists of pounding in a large mortar some still hot and malleable pancake, with a mixture of tomatoes, peppers, peppers, garlic, fennel seeds ... This dish has the particularity of being eaten in the mortar used for its preparation.

Ingredients

For the pancake

For the salad ⠀

Instructions

Prepare the galette

  1. Mix the semolina and salt. Add the oil.

  2. Gradually add water to pick up the paste. Knead until a firm dough is obtained. 

  3. Divide into four dough pieces. 

  4. Flatten so as to obtain pancakes with a thickness of 1 cm. Bake on a hot cast iron griddle (or skillet) for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Crumble the hot pancakes.

  5.  Bake on a hot cast iron griddle (or skillet) for 3 to 4 minutes per side. 

  6. Crumble the hot pancakes.

Prepare the salad

  1. Arrange the fennel seeds, coriander, salt, and garlic in a masher and mash. 

  2. Add the red pepper, the cilantro leaves and mash again. Then add the green peppers and tomatoes. 

  3. Mix everything, then gradually add the pieces of crumbled pancake, alternating with the diluted tomato paste. To crush.

  4. Pour a drizzle of olive oil and mix. Enjoy with a glass of lben (buttermilk)

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