The karantika is an Algerian dish that is sold everywhere in Algeria by street vendors, it’s a kind of street food that is consumed hot in bread. It has Hispanic-Oranese origin based on chickpea flour, having the appearance of a custard made up of 3 layers: a thick lower layer, a second soft layer and a thin gratinated layer.
We’ll start our challenge 1 Province 1 Recipe with the city of Oran.
Since Oran is our hometown, it was easy to discover a typical Oran dish: the famous recipe of karantika.
Karantika is sold everywhere in Algeria by street vendors, it is a kind of street food that is consumed hot in bread (baguette).
In the present day, Karantika is sold everywhere in the country. This dish has Hispanic-Oran origin and is based on chickpea flour. It has the appearance of a custard made up of 3 layers: a thick lower layer, a second soft layer, and a thin gratinated 3rd layer.
The word calentica (often called karantika) comes from the Spanish calentita, which has its origin in the Spanish word caliente, which means “hot”. The Oranian Calentica variant incorporates the diminutive ico, ica. This variant is so integrated into spoken Arabic in Oran that the origin of the word has been forgotten.
According to a legend, the Karantika was invented in the castle of Santa Cruz in Oran by the Spanish military between 1577 and 1604, after being trapped in this fort for several days against the natives without food. They mixed the rest of their reserved chickpeas which resulted in the birth if the calentica (Karantika) recipe. Since then, it becomes a very popular dish in Oran scented with cumin and eaten very hot with good harissa!
There are two versions of Karantika: a simple version that contains only chickpea flour, water, and salt (known in the west of the country) and another more elaborate version that contains eggs (mostly known in the center and east of the country).
The Karantika is a simple and cheap dish, often accompanied by a harissa paste. At the time of French colonization, the Karantika was consumed with salt, pepper, and sometimes cumin, which particularly highlights the taste of chickpea flour.
In our own version of this recipe, we have substituted a part of the chickpea flour by breadcrumbs for a less dominant chickpea flour flavors. We have also substituted a part of the water by a portion of milk and a portion a plain yogurt to have a more creamy texture.
If you prefer a gluten-free version, you can replace the breadcrumbs by the same amount of chickpea flour.
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup greek yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 500°F/260°C.Lightly oil three baking pans of 15cm x 12cm (6 in. x 4 in.).You can replace it with a pan of 26cm x 20cm (10 in. x 8 in.) but remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- In a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients except black pepper. Add the egg, oil, milk and mix it until smooth.Add water progressively and mix all ingredients.Season with black pepper and adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Gently pour the thin batter into the greased pans and place it into the oven.Cook for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the pans) or until a thin crust is formed and there are brown patches on the surface.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.Serve warm with cumin and harissa paste.It can also be served inside a sandwich (baguette) with a dash of harissa paste.