Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week, we remain on the continent of Africa, in the country of Libya. Libya is not popular amongst travellers due to their political instability and ongoing civil war, as well as the incredibly difficult visa process. Nonetheless, Libya is a stunning country with a rich heritage. They are known for striking Italian and Greek architecture, the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and vibrant cities.
The national dish of Libya is Coucous Bil-Bosla, according to this list by Taste Essence. This dish also makes #8 on Taste Atlas’ list of top Libyan foods, #2 on this list by Trip101, and #1 on this list by EpersianFood. It was challenging to find any other information about authentic Libyan cuisine, and what I could find was generic ingredients as opposed to entire dishes. We narrowed our options down to Shorba soup or Couscous Bil-Bosla, and my sister and boyfriend both voted couscous. We used this recipe by Umm Obaidah Cooks with a few tweaks:
The descriptions of couscous bil-bosla that I read all mentioned potato as a main ingredient, however, this recipe (which was the best I could find in terms of straightforward directions) did not include potato. I chopped three potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces and incorporated them into the meat mixture.
Get the tissues ready because there are lots of onions to chop– but not as many as the recipe calls for. This recipe calls for seven chopped onions and one diced. I did five chopped and one diced and it was still way too many. I think three chopped onions is more than enough. Save yourself the time, money, and tears. Steaming the onions over the stew then frying in melted butter was an awesome way to cook them and get the flavours flowing between both main elements of the dish.
Finally, one of my favourite grains for its buttery taste and simple preparation: couscous. We didn’t steam the couscous as recommended in this recipe. We just boiled the kettle and mixed equal parts water and couscous, then giving it about five minutes to fluff up.
The combination of spices in this dish created an amazing aroma, although, the meal lacked flavour overall. It was hearty, filling, and healthy; but, we did not find the taste to be striking or vibrant. That said, it definitely didn’t taste bad, just bland. We probably wouldn’t make this recipe again, but I’m really glad we tried it.
While we ate, we watched these videos on YouTube:
Stay tuned for next week’s adventure! (Hint: we’re leaving Africa for a bit)