The North African kitchen is always associated with couscous as a staple, and rightly so. But the flavors and influences create regional differences that give each of the Maghreb countries it’s distinct characteristics. The Moroccans are the master’s of spice blending, using the most exquisite ingredients such as saffron, preserves, dried fruits and nuts to create surreal sweet-savory dishes. The Tunisians like things fiery hot and the freshest produce are always used. Eggs, potatoes and harissa always find their way into every dish. Libya is most strongly influenced by the Ottoman reign of over 300 years and this is apparent in the most exquisite sweets and desserts Libyans produce to this day; pure local cedar honey, almonds and distilled orange blossom water are the stars here.
Below are a few of my favorite dishes that showcase the best of what North Africa has to offer. Credit for these beautiful photographs goes to Azizi Ahmad, whose work you have seen throughout the blog, and will see more of as we are planning future collaborations. You can see more of Azizi’s work on his blog, Sahara Desert’s Photographer, and read about him in the Look Out Libya expat interview. He was our guest of honor for iftar on Tuesday when he took these photos.