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Tunisian cuisine is full of flavors. A wealth explained by the many legacies that Tunisia has received throughout its history, from Berber cultures to Andalusian, Arab populations through to the Italian, Jewish and Turkish.
Even today, the country remains marked by these different traditions with the most common ingredients of Tunisian cuisine being wheat, olives, meat, fish and seafood. Spices and pepper also form an integral part of local gastronomy.
Here are 8 typical dishes to get a better taste of traditional Tunisian food.
1. Chakchouka (pictured above)
We find chakchouka in many countries of the Maghreb or the Middle East. In Tunisia, it's prepared with soft-boiled eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices, all in olive oil.
2. Pasta, the Most Consumed Dish in Tunisian Cuisine
If couscous remains the traditional dish of Tunisian cuisine, the most consumed dish in Tunisia is pasta. There are many varieties such as nouacers - squares and steamed - rechta - noodles -, m'hamsa or stuffed pasta.
They are usually served in soup or with meat, tomato sauce, chickpeas, peppers and spices.
Couscous is the traditional dish par excellence, especially for ceremonies. Of Berber origin, it is found throughout the Maghreb and consists of semolina, vegetables and meat - usually lamb.
In Tunisia, we often find couscous djerbien (Djerba) where meat or fish are seasoned and steamed with vegetables. The dried meat is preserved in olive oil, with pepper and crushed green pepper and coarse salt
In the north of the country, there is also mesfouf, a sweet couscous served as a dessert.
Click here to discover the different couscous prepared around the world.
Chorba is the most common soup. It consists of chicken or fish, parsley, celery and lemon juice, not to mention the famous pasta called "bird tongues."
Among the most popular soups of Tunisian cuisine is also lablabi, made of chickpeas, olive oil, harissa, garlic, salt, caraway, lemon juice and bread croutons.
6. Méchouia salad
Méchouia salad is made with grilled vegetables, finely chopped like pepper, tomato or aubergine, served with onions, chilli, garlic, coriander and caraway powder. It is then seasoned with olive oil, harissa and lemon juice, before adding a few slices of hard-boiled eggs, capers and tuna crumbs.
Known around the world, keftas are meatballs or fish with onion, parsley and egg. Unlike the usual dumplings, they are crushed before being fried.
8. Tunisian Traditional Desserts
Traditionally, desserts are served between meals, which can easily be understood because of their consistency. For example, madmouja made from puff pastry stuffed with dates and coated with sugar syrup perfumed with geranium distilled water or baklava, generally served in weddings or other festivities. It consists of several layers of puff pastry very thin stuffed with almond and dried fruit, coated with rose water. The whole is cut into a diamond shape before being cooked and sprinkled with sugar syrup.