Tunisian gastronomy stands out for its spices, the notable prominence of vegetables (onion, tomato, carrot, pumpkin, etc.), the pastries, and lamb and fish dishes. The combinations are extremely broad and stand out due to the intensity of their aromas and different flavors. Tunisian meals are social events and the longer they last, the better.
To begin a trip along the path of Tunisian gastronomy, there is nothing better than brik, one of the most traditional appetizers. It is a type of bread or pastry which can be made with two different types of dough: filo and malsouka. For the filling, tuna is the number one option. Many cooks also make it with chicken. Additionally, you can add anchovies, egg, capers and harissa, a very common spicy sauce in the Middle East.
Couscous is known as one of the preferred dishes in Tunisia and its neighboring countries. There are more than 60 recipes for couscous and the essence of each, as you would expect, varies depending on the ingredients. In general, it is steamed in a pan, to which pieces of meat (beef, chicekn, lamb or fish), vegetables and legumes are added. Lablabi is another typical dish whose base ingredient is chickpeas. It is cooked with pieces of bread and a soup with cumin as the main seasoning.
A tagine is a fundamental dish of the culinary folklore of countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libia. Its name comes from the special pot in which it is stewed. This clay pot cooks meats (mainly lamb), vegetables and spices at a low heat in order to achieve the right balance of texture, flavor and aromas. Most tourists who visit Tunisia try the popular Doigts de Fatma (Fatma’s Fingers), a sort of spring roll filled with minced meat, egg, potato and parsley or other condiments, and they usually come back for more! These dishes are wrapped in what is known as brik pastry and fried. A real delicacy for the palate!
Dates are a classic food of Tunisia and a large part of northern Africa. Makroud is a cake made with couscous semolina and dates or figs. It is cut into diamonds and fried to be served with a traditional Tunisian mint tea. It is said that the city of Kairouan is home to the best makroud in the country.
Now you know, you can’t leave Tunisia without having at least tried each and every one of these dishes.
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