Cuisines in Tunisia

Cuisines in Tunisia are a wonderful blend of Oriental, European and the culinary traditions of the desert dwellers. It has a distinct spicy flavor that has come from the neighboring Mediterranean countries. The cuisines of Tunisia also bear influences of many civilizations who have ruled Tunisia like the Phoenician, Arab, Turkish, Roman, French and also the native Berber.
There are numerous cooking styles and the modern day utensils have began to take shape like those used by the ancient nomadic tribes. They used the conical-lidded pot which is used even today.
North African cuisine is generally bland but Tunisian food is spicy and hot. There is an old wife’s tale that speaks about how a husband can judge his wife’s affections by the amount of hot spices that she uses while preparing his food. But when the food is being prepared the flavors are done according to the preferences of the guests.
Popular food of Tunisia
There are various specialties that are associated with the cuisines in Tunisia. Aome of them are- Couscous is the national dish of Tunisia. It is cooked in a special kind of double boiler called a couscousiere. Meat and vegetables are boiled in the lower half and grain is put on the upper part. This is done in such a manner that the grain acquires the flavors of what ever has been put below. While serving a sauce is poured over.
Some of the other popular Tunisian dishes are –
Chorba – soup with lots of pepper. Brik – tiny parcels of minced lamb, beef, or vegetables and an egg wrapped in thin pastry and deep fried (pictured). Brik is very popular, but requires careful eating with your fingers if the egg is not to trickle down your chin. Chakchouka – ratatouille with chick peas, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions served with a poached egg. Guenaoia – lamb or beef stew with chillies, okra, sweet peppers and coriander. Harissa – hot red pepper sauce used with almost any main dish. Mhalbya – cake made with rice, nuts and geranium water. Salata batata – a hot (in every sense) potato salad flavoured with caraway seeds. Felfel mahchi – sweet peppers stuffed with meat, usually lamb, and served with harissa sauce. Koucha – whole baby lamb baked in a clay case with rosemary. Mechouia – a hos d’oeuvre of grilled sweet peppers, tomatoes and onions mixed with oil lemon, tuna fish and hard-boiled eggs. Samsa – layers of thin pastry alternated with layers of ground roast almonds, and sesame seeds, baked in lemon and rosewater syrup. Bouza – rich and sticky sorghum and hazelnut cake. The taste of the food is such that you will really love Tunisian food.