10 Typical Tunisian Foods Rich in Spices

10 Typical Tunisian Foods Rich in Spices

When mentioning Tunisia, tourists will associate with beaches, coasts, history, and tourism. Indeed, the name Tunisia is associated with the image of pristine beaches and clear waters and of course the friendly people. In addition, Tunisia also has delicious cuisine. Although it has similarities with Arabic cuisine, Tunisian food has its uniqueness.

Tunisian food is rich with heartwarming and appetizing dishes. In addition, the cuisine of this country is famous for its spices. The country’s cuisine is influenced by Berber, Andalusian, Jewish, Arabic, Turkish, Italian, and French which consists of vegetables, cereals, meat (lamb, beef, chicken), and added spices.

Come on, take a look at 10 foods from Tunisia that have been wandering around for you below!

  1. Hlalem

Hlalem is one of the most prominent Tunisian specialties. This dish is very popular during the month of Ramadan. This rich and delicious soup consists of dumpling-like dough pieces, which are made from semolina mixed with water and salt.

After all the ingredients are combined, mix well and knead until the dough is soft enough to cut. The cut dough is then made into small rolls. After that, pinch the small roll a little bit and use your thumb and forefinger to twist the dough so it looks like grains of rice but is bigger and longer. Place the dough in a sieve and pat dry.

The soup is made from chickpeas (chickpeas) mixed with Egyptian beans and added with parsley, onions, red pepper, tomato puree, salt, and spinach. The ingredients were then cooked in water for about twenty minutes. Add the dry dough pieces and cook for five or six minutes.

Hlalem is a typical Tunisian food that is rich in history. These foods are healthy, flavorful, and eaten by millions of people across the country.

  1. Omek Houria

This Tunisian side dish and appetizer is called omek hours. This dish is a salad made of boiled carrots then mashed and seasoned with various herbs and harissa. Omek houria according to the Tunisian name is taken from the name of a mermaid who dyed her hair with henna so that the color is like a carrot.

Omek houria is one of Tunisia’s most popular and most commonly made dishes. The name of this dish comes from the Arabic language which translates to “Grilled Salad”. But actually, omek houria is more like grilled salsa than salad. This food is often found on the dinner table during the month of Ramadan.

Grilled onions, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic are roughly chopped, salted, and seasoned, and then drizzled with olive oil. By itself, this dish is a perfect vegan dish. However, omek houria is usually garnished with a hard-boiled egg, olives, or a piece of fish (tuna) and can also be a combination of all three to taste like Mediterranean style.

  1. Chorba

The Tunisian staple of Ramadan, Chorba, is a soup dish that is also available year-round. Usually, this soup is made using lamb or beef, but there is also a popular fish variant, especially in coastal areas. Made from Bulgarian wheat and seasoned with harissa, the base of this soup is boiled tomatoes.

While this dish is important to Tunisian culture, it is popular throughout the territories formerly controlled by the Ottoman Empire, from Morocco to Bulgaria and Croatia.

  1. Brik

This is perhaps the most popular and traditional Tunisian food. Most restaurants and hotels have this dish on their menu. In addition, this food can also be found in some roadside stalls.

This food is made from a fine pastry dough called malsouka. This dough is then deep-fried and stuffed with egg, tuna, and parsley. Brik is served with lemon and there is a special way to eat it. Start by nibbling on the outside until you reach the egg. When it is close to the egg, swallow the rest immediately so as not to spill the egg liquid.

Lemons can be added at any time. The shape of this food can be varied, generally triangular like folded pizza, samosas, or calzones. The filling can be eggs, potatoes, cheese, or shrimp. The best quality brick looks layered and drier. It is usually served as a second meal during Ramadan, which is the reason why it is so popular.

  1. Tajine

Tajine or Tunisian frittata is one of Tunisia’s most famous dishes. This Tunisian food can be served as a side dish or as a main dish. This tajine is almost the same as an Italian frittata.

The basic ingredients are eggs cooked together with a mixture of parsley, onions, cheese, harissa, turmeric, olives, and meats such as diced chicken breast, minced meat, or chopped liver.

The main difference between a Tunisian tajine and an Italian frittata is in the use of spices, which enhance the savory base as well as the density and savory taste. Don’t confuse tajines with Moroccan or Algerian tajines. The two are very different dishes. In Moroccan cuisine, tajine refers to an earthenware pot used to cook various dishes.

Tajine is known to have high protein and fiber content. These foods can be refrigerated for up to five to six days and can be reheated or even served cold.

  1. Shakshuka

This typical Tunisian dish similar to stew is hearty and delicious. The dish is made from onions, garlic, green peppers, and tomatoes. Additional ingredients of choice include courgettes, potatoes, or peas, especially in spring.

Tunisians add eggs when cooking this dish so that the eggs cook slowly in the soup. Tunisians love to enjoy shakshuka or also called chakchouka for lunch or dinner.

If a visit Tunisia, tourists will see residents consume bread with all meals. When ordering shakshuka, it will be served with lots of bread, which can be dipped in the sauce. Not only popular in Tunisia, but this dish is also widely found in Middle Eastern countries, such as Israel.

This easy-to-make and colorful dish of eggs and vegetables in North African countries are commonly eaten for dinner. The origin of its name from the word in the Barber language which means ragout, vegetables, or mixture.

  1. Zgougou’s Assidat

Assidat zgougou is a traditional Tunisian dessert made from a combination of Aleppo pine seeds, flour, sugar, starch, rosewater, and water. The zgougou seeds are ground and then mixed with flour, sugar, and starch, then stirred continuously while cooking over low heat until thickened.

Another ingredient is custard, which is made from milk, sugar, vanilla, starch, egg yolk, and rose water. The cream is stacked at the bottom of the glass, followed by a layer of custard. Usually, this dessert is topped with nuts such as toasted almonds or pistachios.

Generally, assidat zgougou is exchanged between family and friends. To decorate the top, many people will use dried fruit and add color to this slightly pale-looking dessert.

  1. Mlouchia

Mloukhia, mlokhia, melukhia, molokeya, and mlukhiya are Tunisian lamb-based dishes that are also popular in Middle Eastern countries. Mloukhia is a lamb or beef stew cooked in a rich sauce ranging from nalta jute/molokhia in the form of dried green spices and olive or sunflower oil.

In the local version, the meat is cooked together with tripe pieces over charcoal over low heat. To cook, it takes about 8 hours. Usually, mloukhia is served with the most famous sausage in North Africa called Merguez.

This lamb stew in Tunisia is called “the delicacy of the king” because the name of this dish comes from the Arabic word malik or Malek which means king. This food is mostly eaten during holidays such as the Hijri New Year and on Ras-el-am.

  1. Couscous

Initially, couscous was known as a typical Berber dish that first appeared in the Maghreb countries or African regions. Then couscous quickly became one of the most versatile and eaten foods in North Africa.

Tunisian couscous is one of the most important authentic Tunisian recipes that natives will eat several times a week. This food is made from grains of different sizes which can be fine, medium, or large.

Usually, this Tunisian food is made with lamb, tomato sauce, chickpeas, and spices. Sometimes the lamb is replaced with beef or chicken. Almost every family in Tunisia cooks couscous at least every weekend.

  1. Osban

Found only in Tunisia, osban is a savory dish. This food is of great historical importance in Tunisian culture. Osban is a stuffed sausage. The sausage is stuffed with finely chopped heart and liver, ground beef, shallots, parsley, garlic, spices, and rice.

Once stuffed, the sausages are then sewn together with a needle and thread and steamed or cooked in juices and sauces. This Tunisian sausage is almost always served on top of couscous. This dish is rich in flavor, and the meat is also dense and layered in texture. Tunisians make this dish especially for Eid al-Adha for centuries ago.

Those are 10 typical Tunisian foods that are unique and full of spices. Although almost the same as most other countries in the Middle East, Tunisian cuisine still displays its characteristics.

If you like spicy food, there’s nothing wrong with trying Tunisian specialties. Good luck!