Friday, August 31, 2012

Street Food, Spicy Tunisian Chicken Kebabs


Something wonderful happens when we eat food on a stick.

It is my last day in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia and the smallest country in northern Africa. Tunisia sits on the coast of the Mediterranean with influences of the Ottoman, Christians, Arabs and French. I have done my sight seeing. Visited the Unesco World Heritage sites, the Mediana with the narrow streets that create cooling shade from the African sun, the Zaytouna Mosque and the different medina markets (souqs) which are  organized into different commercial areas. Today is mine as I return to the Central Market.

It is nearly September and the morning temperatures are a comfortable 73 degrees as I slip on my gauze skirt and top, knowing that the heat will climb into the nineties before the day is done.  Grabbing my market bag, camera and purse I walk through the hotel's iron gates and heading down the few blocks of the Avenue de France and toward Rue Charles de Gualle. Finally turning on to Avenue de Paris. The sun is bright against the white stucco walls and the wailing traffic. But today is mine as I am determined to bring home the taste of Tunisa. The peppers, harissa and spice that epitomizes the cuisine of this North African country. 

The covered market looms large in front of me as I enter the arched pathway.  A market that dates from the nineteenth century, colorful, resplendant with an incredible selection of cheeses, fresh bread, spices--especially peppers and harissa, olives and pickles.  The space is abuzz with merchants selling fresh produce, fish and wares while locals make their daily purchases. An old market that dates back in history, this was named Fondouk El Ghalla, the Central Market, known as the largest food and vegetable market in Tunisia. Not only am I shopping for spices. I know I will want a last chance to savour the market foods, kebabs, and scented waters with dark rose or blossom petals, so similar to agua fresca with flowers. Leaving room for a dessert of my favorite Baklawa, layers of thin pastry interspersed with ground pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios.

Perhaps I will have time to visit the Souz el-Berka to find a gold bangle as a treasure from my visit. From a dark past this market specializes in the goldsmiths trade. We shall see what can be found and negotiated.

After a day at the market, rest and quiet back at the hotel. The fan spinning rhythmlically as it cools. A leisurely nap and lie-in before my darling one and I head to the marina. One last grilled fish, sunset, and a toast to Northern Africa.

Or so I would have imagined.

A celebration of adventure in far-a-way places, foreign cuisines and cultures. A musing until made real. A part of Street Foods Monthly Mingle.


Tunisian Spicy Chicken Kebabs
Serves 4-6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients
Marinade
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
½ cup Peppedew Peppers
¼ cup Peppadew Pepper Juice from Jar
½ cup Raisins
¼ teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup Olive Oil
¼ cup Pomegranate Molasses
Meat
4-5 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1” chunks

Prep
Place all marinade ingredients in food processor blender and puree until smooth.
Pour ½ of the marinade over cut up chicken thighs, turn and rub all over.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes or longer (up to overnight.) Reserve other half of marinade for dipping. Soak your bamboo skewers in water while the meat is marinading. This will help prevent burning on the grill.

Directions
After marinating chicken, place on bamboo or metal skewers. Grill over high heat until done about 5 minutes per side. Serve with couscous or rice and for a special treat and heat add harissa on the side for dipping.


A little adventure, a little spice. What are you waiting for ?
Links
Inspiration: Susan Feniger's Street Food

 A virtual potluck since 2006 from Meeta K. Wolff What's for Lunch Honey? and an August theme from Zizi's Adventures. 










And, as luck would have it, my friend Jeanne at cooksister.com is having a Braai (South Aftrican Grilling over hot coals) contest and this is my entry. See Braai, the Beloved Country for all the information.


 

7 comments:

  1. Oh what a lovely post, so vividly imagined! You really had me going there ;) Love love love these kebabs - SO similar to South African sosaties. I love how Tunisia and South Africa are at opposite ends of the continent, yet still share some common ground.

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    1. Until I can make the real journey I will have to make do with some imagination. My South African friend, this recipe wouldn't be the same without the Peppadews!

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  2. I can just picture myself there with you! :D I can dream too can't I? I just love kababs and these are no exception, I want a bite! So cool that you can find kababs all around in different countries. But I still want a bite now please! :D

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    1. I would be so happy to share with you Lyndsey! Thanks for coming along on my little virutual trip - what fun is that?

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  3. after reading this post, I will have to add Tunisia to my list of places to visit :)

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    Replies
    1. Life is an adventure for sure Tandy!

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  4. I'm just travelling with you while I'm reading this, thanks for a little trip Robin! I can almost smell and teste these kebabs too, oh how I love these kind of spicy dishes.

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