North African gastronomy on the bank of Kaban Lake

North African gastronomy on the bank of Kaban Lake
Photo: Madina Salimgarayeva/

This week, within the framework of Russia — the Islamic World: KazanForum International Economic Forum, Tatarstan is hosting a huge number of guests from all over the world. Previously known as KazanSummit, it has gathered a record number of participants — 15 thousand people, including deputy prime ministers and heads of regions of Russia, ministers and ambassadors of foreign countries, businessmen and even Miss Universe. Within the framework of the forum, Kazan hosts the International Cup of Chefs and the festival of national cuisines of Islamic countries. In two restaurants of the city, guests are offered to get acquainted with Azerbaijani and Algerian cuisines. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Kazan gathered chefs of Islamic countries

This year, Russia — Islamic World International Economic Forum is being held in Kazan at the federal level, and its programme is much more extensive on this occasion. For a few days until May 19, the capital of Tatarstan becomes the centre of halal food. As part of the festival of national cuisines of Islamic countries, chefs from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Algeria have developed a three-course menu. Honoured guests of the forum will have the opportunity to appreciate them at a gala dinner, and Kazan residents and tourists will have the opportunity to enjoy these culinary delights of foreign chefs in a number of restaurants in the city.

For example, Kazan residents will have the opportunity to appreciate the cuisine of Azerbaijan in the Tatar Usadba. Guests will be offered kutabs, dolma, lula kebab, and at the same time, will be surprised with concert performances of Azerbaijani culture.

The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya decided to study the cuisine of Algeria, which has a centuries-old history. As part of the festival, guests are introduced to their dishes at Gus restaurant on the bank of Kaban Lake. The kitchen in the establishment is open, located opposite the tables for visitors, so you can see the culinary process up close. Usually, the establishment of the Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda offers mainly Tatar dishes, but they made an exception for a few days, enriching the menu with unusual overseas dishes.

Photo: Madina Salimgarayeva/

Where to taste Chakhchukha Dfer

The exclusive menu offers three national dishes: Algerian Frik soup, Chakhchukha Dfer (a festive meat dish using semolina), and traditional dessert — Chran Al Sofra, as well as Algerian green tea with mint.

Algerian cuisine is available in the restaurant for only two days, and they are prepared by professional chefs from North Africa. There are three people in the kitchen in total, a guest from Algeria, Sumaya Khalfalla, led the cooking process. The chef shared that she always says “Bismillah” before cooking, conveying her respect and devotion to God.

Photo: Madina Salimgarayeva/

The peculiarity of Algerian cooking is the love of mutton, so the basis for the soup was lamb meat labelled “halal”, which will give the broth more richness, as well as green wheat and familiar spicy spices: cinnamon, star anise and paprika.

Modern Algerian cuisine is based on Berber and Turkish culinary traditions, and also combines borrowings from French cuisine. Thanks to this, Algerian cuisine offers the most diverse menu. Many Algerian housewives keep stocks of spices in order to give the dishes an exquisite taste. In Algerian cooking, a variety of spices are widely used, such as nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cumin, various peppers, Ceylon cinnamon, cardamom, anise and other spices.

Photo: Madina Salimgarayeva/

Aromas of the East

Traditional Berber dishes of Algeria include dried camel meat and locusts. However, other types of meat are also consumed, most often mutton, while pork is banned in the country according to religious canons. Meat dishes occupy an important place in Algerian cuisine, and there is a Turkish influence in the form of kebab.

Turta with meat, which is a kind of pie, is also popular. Among the national dishes of Algeria, mergez can be noted — spicy lamb sausages that are cooked on the grill. Of particular importance — the culinary traditions associated with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, including the traditional wheat soup with the addition of cilantro and mint, as well as El Ham Lalu (lamb with fruit), prepared on the last day of this holy month.

Ready-made dishes of Algerian and Azerbaijani cuisines are offered to guests to try in the coming days.

Madina Salimgarayeva, photo by the author