ALGERIA: Rechta and Boreks

There’s an Algerian restaurant not too far from my house here in Ottawa – Idriss Mediterranean – that makes all kinds of traditional Algerian dishes. There’s a lot to choose from, so I figured I’d go for gold with a big plate of rechta. Rechta is a pasta dish made with a specific type of noodle – kind of like a wider angel hair. It’s served with chicken, turnips, chickpeas, and lightly spiced with cinnamon or ras el hanout.

Wow, this is a gorgeous spread! Where do I begin? The chicken is BBQ’d to perfection, and the rechta pasta is just perfectly al dente and chewy – they’ve included an onion broth to pour over the noodles, which really makes it sing. I’m a big turnip fan, so I may have eaten all of those first. The whole dish has a light spicing of cinnamon, maybe allspice as well?

I also ordered on the side a couple boreks – these Algerian ones are more like meat-filled spring rolls than the puff pastry-based Israeli bourekas I tried a few months ago, but they’re both part of the same family of snacks from across the Mediterranean. These ones were hot out of the pan – I got two chicken and one beef (one of them may or may not have been eaten in the car). Lightly spiced meat with a tangy feta-like cheese.

Washed it down with a N’Gaous orange drink – it’s orange and apricot, and halfway between a pop and a juice – a lot like an Orangina (which I just learned also originated in Algeria!)

This is quite the spread, I’ll be picking at the leftovers for days. Between the good quality of the food and the really nice staff, I’m definitely going to go back to Idriss to try some more dishes!

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