Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and Semolina

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Here I am, with my fourth country for #globecookingmad and that is Algeria! It is almost two months since I made Kime me veze for Albania. How time flies! I had started researching on Algerian food and even stocked up some couscous which is still unopened. For now, I made these Bradj, a very popular semolina dates cookie that is so easy to make and eat!

Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and Semolina

Algerian food world is so vast! I just could not make up my mind on one thing. Be it savoury or sweet, they have a lot of options and very interesting ones. I was so drawn to make Mkhabez (Pecan Cookies), Kaak el NakacheChorba Bayda, Twabaa, Tamina, Braid Algerian Griwech, the list is never ending.. unlike Albania, there is no dearth of resources for recipes and umpteen variations on the internet - Google, Pinterest, fellow bloggers etc. The only thing that was lacking was my meeting at the right time and right mood! :-)

Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and Semolina

Algeria is a North African country officially called the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. Like India, Algerian cuisine also differs from region to region and they cook mostly with lamb and seafood. Some of their dishes are influenced by the French and Turkish and even Spanish. And just like we Indians have garam masala spice blend, Algeria's spice mix is Ras el hanout. I can go on and on about their food because their ingredients are easy to get and ones that we are familiar with.

Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and SemolinaDuring this time I came across some lovely blogs and youtube channels that were loaded with Algerian recipes. And while I had planned on making Kesra which is a flatbread, I got so confused with numerous variations the internet has and I just couldn't make up my mind on which one way to try!  Then I came across youtube by Fatemahisokay about Bradj. As soon as I noticed it has semolina, date paste and cooked on tawa - what more do I need on a lazy Friday! Off I went and made it right then! It seemed super easy until I got my hand on to make them. But I had to look out for more videos and then adapted the procedure used in another youtube video. Making Brâdj just needs a lot of patience and workspace.

Algerian Brâdj is traditionally prepared on clay with charcoal but I have used our modern non-stick pan!. The whole process includes sandwiching dates mix between semolina dough and cooking on a flat pan. There is no sugar in this recipe but the sweetness comes from the date paste!

I have tried to explain in detail on how to make Algerian Brâdj without making a mess at the counter.

Adapted from: Algerian Kitchen 

Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and Semolina

INGREDIENTS:

Semolina Dough
1 cup fine semolina
1/3 to 1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
1/3 to 1/2 cup water (roughly and depends on the kind of semolina you use)

Dates Dough
Roughly 3/4 cup dates paste (if you don't get dates paste, just soak dates overnight and make a paste with very little water and oil)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water

METHOD:

Prepare the Semolina Dough
  1. In a wide mouthed shallow tray add the semolina and the salt. Pour in the melted butter and start to rub the mixture between your hands until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs 
  2. Tip in the orange blossom water and give a thorough mix and start adding the water and bring together to form a dough 
  3. Divide the dough into two equal balls. - (now your date dough has to be the same size as one half of this semolina dough) 
Prepare the Date paste Mix
  1. In a small ball mix all the ingredients until you have a soft, non-sticky date paste dough
Roll Semolina Dough Balls
  1. Take a freezer bag and tear open into two equal sized sheets or you can baking paper or similar plastic sheets. 
  2. Place one semolina dough ball on one of the sheets and close it with the other
  3. Start pressing the dough with your palms to form a neat shape of round and keep it aside. 
  4. Repeat the same for the other portion of the semolina dough
Roll Date Paste dough
  1. Make another freezer bag or any ziplock bag similar to the above.  
  2. Keep the dates paste on one sheet and close it with the other
  3. Start pressing it with hand or with a rolling pin to the same shape and size as of the above semolina dough and keep aside. 

Assemble, Roll, and Cut
  1. Remove the rolled dough and assemble as Semolina dough, Date Paste and Semolina dough. 
  2. Roll the layered cookie to your desired thickness, preferably at least 1/4 to 3/4 inch.  
  3. Cut the flattened Brâdj into diamond shapes.
Cook the Brâdj 
  1. Heat a flat thick bottomed pan
  2. Carefully, transfer each bradj on to the hot pan. You can use a knife to slide and lift each bradj. OR take the board and slide the contents on to the pan carefully. 
  3. Use a blunt spatula or spoon to flip each bradj and cook until golden brown. As and when each gets done, transfer them to a flat plate and let it cool. 
  4. Serve with black tea or milk
Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and Semolina

One cup of semolina was too much for two of us, but it can be stored at room temperature for many days and all the Bradj got over in a weeks time. As it is a marriage of semolina, dates, and butter - it fills you up soon and keeps hunger at bay. If you don't like or don't have orange blossom water, you can add your choice of flavour to the dates dough. Brâdj means diamonds but you can cut them into any shape you want!

Algerian Brâdj | Diamond Cookies | Dates and Semolina

For more variations here are some links I loved:
the teal tadjine
la petite paniere

I want to stay back here for some more time to cook and experience a few more Algerian lip-smacking food! and then move on to cook a recipe home to Andorra!

So, where is Algeria?


Have a great week ahead! And hope my these post inspires you to cook out of your comfort zone! 

You'll Also Love These

0 Thoughts

Share your thoughts, I would love to know more..

Gallery

my foodgawker gallery