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Pasta, Biscuit and Bread in North African Countries

21 April 201610 min reading
In North Africa countries, food products based on cereals, especially pasta varieties, are commonly consumed. In the middle parts of Africa, it seems impossible to talk about a food culture under today’s conditions because of the drought, civil wars and the mistakes in the agriculture policy. However pasta and biscuit may have an important place for the short-term solution of hunger in most of these regions. 17-7 Africa has a geography comprising of a wide territory and different cultures. For this reason, food consumption varies in North Africa having a coast on Mediterranean, in middle Africa and in South Africa countries. In North Africa having a coast on Mediterranean, food culture comes into prominence with fishery products, meat products and spice diversity. Food products bases on grains, especially a variety of pastas are commonly consumed in this region. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN MOROCCO Moroccans are extremely fond of bread like Middle East and Middle Asia folks. They have different Kinds of bread; brown bread is especially consumed. This bread which is consumed nearly in every meal is made from whole grain coarse wheat flour. Besides, flatbreads which are made from unleavened flour and pan-fried breads are consumed frequently. Traditional bread types made of rye flour are also known with their intense and stuffed features. White bread is generally preferred on feasts and special days. Moroccans stuff their bread with wheat kernels and dress it. Today Moroccans who prefer to make their bread still at home knead the dough at home send it to the bakery for cooking. Pasta sector has started to gain importance in recent years in Morocco. Pasta import in the country was 9.1 million dollars in 2009. It is possible for foreign pasta producers to export pasta with different varieties and sizes. Besides pasta, couscous and farina served with meat casserole are the national meals of Morocco. Couscous used in Morocco is not similar to the couscous we use in terms of taste and look. Kernels are smaller. Wheat flour and farina being in the first place, corn, barley and other cereals are thinned to make ready for cooking. Couscous has 3 sizes and the thinnest one (like farina) is the most preferred. While cooking the couscous meat, chicken pieces or different vegetables can be put on it. However for dinners, meat and vegetables are not generally preferred beside couscous. Biscuit sector in Morocco is growing and gaining importance each day. There is an intense competition between the producers. In addition to the local produce, Morocco imported sweet biscuit and waffle of nearly 15.3 million dollars in 2009. Turkish biscuit producers offering rich product varieties and tastes can compete and outclass in Morocco market. Desserts which can be regarded as the types of biscuit generally comprise of “cookies” in Morocco. These cookies which can also be named as shortbread have two types. Cookies like “Kaab el Ghzal” (Antelope Horn) stuffed with marzipan and served with tea and desserts made by spilling honey over it and served with coffee. However touched of French cuisine is seen in mille-feuilles, cakes and candies sold at pastry shops and candy shops. Of course almond is the indispensable ingredient for desserts in Morocco as in all Moorish countries. One of the most famous meals of Moroccan cuisine is “PastillaB’stilla”. This meal generally made on feasts and special days is a kind of sweet and salty pastry made with phyllo which is almost thin as baklava. This special sweet pastry is made with almond, raisin, cinnamon, honey, parsley and meat of either pigeon or chicken. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN ALGERIA Algeria which is both an African and Mediterranean country has been impressed by the cuisines of North African countries and Mediterranean countries. While Berber culture affected Algerian cuisine mostly with dried fruits, boiled foods and meat, Turkish and Arabian cultures affected mostly with pastries. French culture has also enriched Algerian cuisine with appetizers and desserts. The traditional Algerian bread is kesra. Kesra which is consumed nearly in every meal is made from durum wheat or semolina. Loaf of bread which is introduced by French people is one of the highly consumed breads. Algerians who prefer a light breakfast generally drink tea or coffee with milk and eat two sliced of bread with butter and jam. They sometimes have breakfast with a type of homemade bread named “Galette” made with the mixture of water and farina. In Algeria where lighter food products are preferred in the evenings, generally only couscous is consumed in most families. In Algeria, couscous is made by processing the farina with flour and water. Couscous is cooked with steam and served with meat or chicken or only with vegetables and a special sauce. Selection of couscous with vegetable and meat varies according to the season. Also Algerians have sweet couscous. After traditional meals sweet couscous with raisin is generally eaten. Also during Ramadan sweet couscous is definitely consumed at suhur time. All happy and unhappy family members gather around the couscous in Algeria. Couscous is a symbol of love and richness. Noodle is also a preferred type of pasta in Algeria. Noodle cooked with vegetables and chicken resembles the one in Turkey but it is not long but in square shape. A kind of fried bread called Begnets is common in the food culture of Algeria but this fried bread is served with candied differently from Turkey. Another baked product is a pastry named Bourak and it is fried in oil. It is called Petit Pate in France. In this pastry made with cheese and parsley, the phyllo is this slightly different from Turkey. One part of the pastry is made with thin baklava phyllo and the other part is made with phyllo similar to pancake. In the country cookies with flour, farina, date and almond are preferred as dessert. Baklava and kadayif are the most popular desserts of Algerian cuisine. They prefer to make baklava generally with almond. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN TUNISIA Tunisian cuisine is typical with its own features like all other northwestern African countries. Tunisians drink tea with milk in the morning and they eat bread with jam and butter. This is a habit remaining from the French. Being successful in creating their own breads, Tunisians, like the other Maghreb people, prefer pan-fried flatbreads made from whole grain flour or wheat flour. Made from leavened dough is also preferred as risen. Even preparation of “Couscous”, the common meal of Moorish countries, is even typical to Tunisians. Tunisian cuisine is based on lamb, mutton, fish, seafood and vegetable. Types of pasta have an importance in the cuisine with the touch of Italian cuisine. Tunisians who have a richer dinner than lunch generally eat couscous, tajine or pasta varieties for this meal. The most famous meal of Tunisian cuisine is “couscous”. Couscous which is prepared with a different recipe from the common couscous in Turkish cuisine is generally served with Merguez, a kind of sausage with sauce cooked on grill or a pan. As it is known, Italy is ranked as first in the pasta consumption rate in the world with 26 kg. Italy is followed by Venezuela with 13 kg and Tunisia with 11.7 kg. According to 2010 data, Tunisia that consumed 110 thousand ton of pasta annually has given priority to the processing of agricultural products in the industrialization policy. Here, the aim is to make the country which imported all kinds of food products until recently self-sufficient firstly in this sector and then export the main food products like pasta and couscous. It continues to develop in this field. “Brique” one of the most typical meals of Tunisians is a pastry similar to our “çiğ börek” (deep fried water thin dough with raw minced meat filling). For this pastry dough is rolled out as a thin phyllo and cut dish-sized and stuffed with minced meat. By the way they heat the oil in a pan, a whole egg is cracked and put into the pastry and the pastry is put into the boiling oil. Brique is eaten by holding from two ends. For a well-cooked Brique, the white of the egg is cooked and the yolk should be fluid. By the way olive, almond and date should not be forgotten. Tunisians make various desserts and cookies with almond and date. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN EGYPT Egypt is geographically divided into three important regions. The first one is the Mediterranean coast with coastal strip of 1000 km in the north and Red Sea coastal strip of 1000 km in the east. The second region is Nile Delta. This region with a small surface area is the most populated. The third region is the desert between the two coasts of River Nile and the Sina Peninsula. This geographical position determines the eating habits as well as the socio-economic structure of the society. On the coastal strip generally fish and seafood are consumed, while rice and poultry products are eaten in Nile Delta. In the desert mostly lamb, mutton and legumes are consumed. In Northern and Western Africa and Egypt bread constitute more than two thirds of the food consumption. In Egypt where the pasta consumption per person is 1.2 g, pasta market is not sufficient for pasta exporting countries because Egypt is self-sufficient with 400 thousand tons (2012 data) of pasta. Egyptians who are fond of desserts eat desserts such as baklava and kadayif almost each day. One of the most important one of these desserts is “Ommu Ali” (Mother of Ali) made with dried fruits, milk and phyllo. Biscuit market of Egypt is a developing field. In 2008 retail sales of biscuit sector reached to 931 million Egypt Lira with a growth of 8% in amount and 11% in value. The sub-group showing increase in terms of amount and value in the sector is chocolate covered and sweet biscuits. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN LIBYA Libya is like the center of East Mediterranean cuisine and the cuisine of Lebanon comprises of the mixture of South East (because of bulgur and hot sauces), Aegean (because of seafood, olive oil and herbs) and Arabian (presentation and colors) and Mediterranean cuisines. Libyan people whose bread consumption is much prefer unleavened breads called bazin. Consuming flatbreads like bazin every day, Libyans use White wheat flour as well as barley or whole wheat flour. Libya cuisine is based on couscous like other North African countries. However in Libya, varieties of bulgur pilaf other than the couscous we already know (pasta) are also called couscous. Libyans cook pasta, meat, couscous and pizza at home almost each day. Pasta with tomatoes, onion and chicken pieces, called “Rishda” and hard pastas made with barley, called “Bazin” are consumed intensively in Libya. “Couscousi” is the most known regional taste of Libya. It is made with lamb or mutton cooked with steam and served with wheat and farina. Semsek (pastry with mild cream cheese) and pastry with olive are also the primary baked products of the country. For the pastries in the country, thin phyllo called Samboosek is preferred. Libyans consume intensively products like cookies and biscuit and they serve these for their guests. In pastry shops situated at each corner it is possible to find various types of cookies.
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