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North African cookbook recommendations?

Anne H Nov 29, 2006 02:12 AM

My son made a very delicious spicy lamb and red pepper stew tonight, and we all agreed that we need to cook more North African food, and learn more about it.

What I'd love is a cookbook that surveyed several North African cuisines, explained differences, talked about ingredients, etc.

Does it exist?

What cookbooks do you use for this food?

I'm thinking of asking for this for a Christmas present, so it could be something lavish with photos, as long as it's also available reasonably cheaply ;-) (now that I bought Mollie Stevens for $12, I'm eager to try for more...)

  1. j
    jd in baltimore Nov 29, 2006 02:22 AM

    There are probably many good ones out there, though they may be Middle Eastern more than specifically North African. I like "A Taste of Africa" by Dorinda Hafner, but it surveys many African countries, including only two North African ones (Morocco and Egypt). It's a great survey of African cuisines and African foods in the Americas. It discusses some ingredients from each featured country.

    1. junglekitte Nov 29, 2006 03:52 AM

      couscous and other good foods from morocco -paula wolfert

      very authentic recipes.

      2 Replies
      1. re: junglekitte
        condiment Nov 29, 2006 07:45 PM

        The Wolfert is (as the title implies) just about Moroccan cooking, but it is so much better than anything else on the region that it is the one you should definitely get first. Her Mediterranean Cooking also has a lot of delicious Tunisian recipes.

        1. re: condiment
          oakjoan Nov 30, 2006 02:53 AM

          Agreed! Wolfert is great!

      2. c
        cheryl_h Nov 29, 2006 02:27 PM

        There is a book recently published to rave reviews which might be just what you're looking for. It's The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson (and others). Samuelsson has an unusual background, being Ethiopian by birth by adopted by Swedish parents. He cooks at Aquavit in New York but was curious about his African ancestry. This book is what he discovered. I haven't seen it or tried it myself, but I'm very eager to.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cheryl_h
          oakjoan Nov 30, 2006 02:55 AM

          Samuelsson not only cooks at Aquavit, but he owns it and started it and had one (maybe still has) in Minneapolis. I'm also very eager to look over his African book.

          1. re: oakjoan
            cheryl_h Nov 30, 2006 02:15 PM

            I just got my copy of Soul of a New Cuisine from the library. It's a blend of African and American in that he adapts traditional recipes for American tastes and availability of ingredients. I was thrilled to find several recipes for South African dishes I grew up with, as well as the Ethiopian dishes of his childhood. He covered a lot of territory, but even with about 200 recipes he can't be comprehensive. If the OP wants exclusively North African dishes, this book won't be enough. For an introduction to African cuisine, I think the book is excellent. I plan to try the bobotie recipe as soon as we get through the Thanksgiving leftovers.

        2. v
          Val Nov 29, 2006 03:18 PM

          AnneH, can you please post the recipe that your son made or paraphrase it?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Val
            plum Nov 29, 2006 05:23 PM

            Second request for son's recipe - sounds delicious!

            I already have the new Samuelsson book coming in the hopes that it had some good Ethiopian recipes. But I'll reply back here about how many North African recipes it has. I can already tell you that it is a lavish production, full of pretty photos, and like the Alford's Mangoes and Curry Leaves, big enough to constitute a kitchen hazard when it inevitably falls from wherever I tried to prop it open...

            I also have Copeland Marks' "Great Book of Couscous: Classic Cuisines of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia". It's been a good resource, particularly for vegetable, egg and fish dishes - I have to admit I've never made either a meat dish or couscous from it. Interesting - maybe not worth buying (I got mine at a used bookshop for fifty cents), but definitely worth checking out from the library.

          2. c
            cheryl_h Nov 29, 2006 06:31 PM

            I just found this article from today's Boston Globe on Samuelsson:


            1. a
              Anne H Nov 30, 2006 01:02 AM

              Well, it's from a simple eclectic cookbook, nothing authentic about it. But it was delicious.

              North African Lamb

              Cube and brown 1 1/2 lbs lamb with salt and pepper
              Put in a roasting pan with five small onions, cut in wedges
              Roast 30-40 minutes at 400

              Add one cup boiling water, with 3 T paprika, 1 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp cumin, juice from 1/2 of a lemon

              4 oz of pitted prunes

              stir and simmer for 10 minutes

              serve over couscous

              He also added some coriander, which wasn't in the recipe

              As we ate, we thought maybe raisins would have been better than prunes, and maybe add slivered almonds or pine nuts.

              Cut back on the cayenne if you don't like things very spicy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Anne H
                Val Nov 30, 2006 01:40 AM

                hmmm....somewhat of a tagine, it sounds like, very Moroccan...I hope to try this over the weekend! Thank you for posting it, Anne!

              2. Xanthippe Nov 30, 2006 01:53 AM

                "The Momo Cookbook" by Mourad Mazouz is solely about North African cuisine (the subtitle being "A Gastronomic Journey Through North Africa"); the recipes are grouped by country (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) and the photos are gorgeous. As far as I'm concerned just having a terrific recipe for Tunisian briks is worth the price of the book!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Xanthippe
                  junglekitte Nov 30, 2006 03:17 AM

                  i second this book as well. i've eaten at this restaurant (momo) numerous times.... very delicious food.

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