With a new month comes a new theme. This month, we are headed to my dad’s country of birth: Algeria.
On July 5, Algeria will celebrate its 54 years of independence from France pronounced by General de Gaulle in 1962. The opportunity for us to welcome our new culinary expert Assia, author of culinary blog Gourmandise Assia. It is Vera who had the opportunity to meet Assia during our participation at the Golden Blog Awards last November. Come meet Assia and give her a warm welcome by reading and commenting under her exclusive interview.
Although my dad’s background is half Algerian (my grandmother was Moroccan), the only recipe typically Algerian that I know of is couscous au beurre (couscous with butter), a very easy recipe but still a must in my family. I also converted my wife and children to this calorie bomb!
In fact, I was mainly raised on my mother’s Tunisian cuisine. Until today, one of the few dishes that tops couscous with butter in my eyes is pkaila, another highly caloric dish that can only be “lived” and not described!
Maaqouda, maqouda or maakouda (المعقودة in Arabic) is a recipe from Algeria but also from Morocco and Tunisia that is often prepared during the month of Ramadan. Great timing as Ramadan started this week!
Maaqouda, which can be translated to “bound” or “thick”, is a potato fritter which is often prepared plain, but can also be stuffed with tuna, ground meat or even cheese.
The recipe for this delicious fritter is quite simple. The greatest difficulty lies in the fact that the preparation has to be perfect to prevent it from crumbling during frying. For this, you must follow the following rules:
– Cool the potato puree
– The potato puree should also be somewhat dry. For that, you can dry the potatoes in the pan after draining and mashing them, or you can bake them instead of boiling them. Also, it is better to mash them with a fork rather than with a blender
– Wait until the oil is very hot (350 F) before starting to fry
For busy moms, you can also used instant mashed potatoes, I promise not to say anything! If you like potato fritters, this recipe might remind you of potato latke or their Slovak cousin, zemiakove placky.
Frying is the essence of street food, and we know what our frying on 196 flavors! Indeed, we have already featured dozens of fritter recipes such as Indian palak pakoras, Nigerian akaras, Syrian leek fritters, Mauritian bhajas or Caribbean salt cod fritters.
We tasted our maaqoudas as an appetizer last Friday night, and you could say they were gone after 5 minutes! Personally, I savored with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and I highly recommend you do the same!
Recipe of Maaqouda
Ingredients (for about 25 pieces)
- 2 lb potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Flour, for coating
Oil for frying
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes with their skin for at least 30 minutes or until tender.
Peel the potatoes and mash them. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, cumin, turmeric, parsley, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. If the mixture is too firm, add some breadcrumbs.
Shape 2-inch diameter patties.
In a large saucepan, heat enough oil for deep frying to 350 F
Drench maaqouda in flour to cover both sides. Remove excess flour and deep fry on one side, then the other. Drain on paper towels and serve with freshly squeezed lemon.