H’miss (hmiss, hmis) is an Algerian dish widely prepared in Algeria, with minor differences from one region to another. It’s a very simple, healthy, and above all tasty starter. It’s made of pepper (hot, sweet, or both), as well as tomatoes, olive oil, and salt.
Origin and history
H’miss is a sort of a dip made from grilled peppers and tomatoes, chopped, mixed and seasoned with olive oil. It is widely popular throughout Algeria and the Maghreb in general and has different names: hmiss, chleta (salad) in East Algeria, felfel b’tomatich (pepper with tomatoes), ifelfel (pepper) in Kabylia, felfla (pepper) in the western region, slata mechouïa (roasted salad) in Tunisia or taktouka (peppers) in Morocco,
Hmiss is very quick and easy to make. Originally, It was prepared all year round even if it was not the season of peppers. For that, after harvesting, the peppers were roasted by the housewives according to the rules of the art, cleaned, cut, and packaged in small packets so that it can be eaten throughout the year.
It’s among the most popular starters, especially during the month of Ramadan.
Notes and tips
The peppers and tomatoes are roasted. Since their skins and thick fibers are not easily digestible, it’s recommended to remove them by peeling the skins, the white fibers inside the peppers, and all their seeds.
Peppers and tomatoes should be roasted, ideally on an open fire, to give them that inimitable smoky flavor. There are many other variations: steamed or pan-fried, but the most famous is el mechoui (grilled). Originally, most Algerian families roasted the peppers and tomatoes in the “quanoun“, a type of terracotta pottery filled with coals.
After roasting, place the peppers and tomatoes in an air-tight container: the skin will be easier to remove.
Never wash the peppers and tomatoes, so it does not lose its smoky taste.
Variations: other variations of this recipe can be prepared by adding: roasted red hot chili peppers, minced garlic cloves, minced red onion, beaten eggs, hard boil eggs, black olives, …
It can be served warm or cold. It’s ideally enjoyed with a good homemade bread such as kesra (flat bread), matlouh (bread) or a Kabyle flatbread called arhlum (or aghroum). Among Jews, this salad is often present at the Shabbat dinner tables.
- 2 red peppers ( or green peppers)
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Roast the peppers and tomatoes on the grill, or under the oven broiler for 5 minute on each side.
- Place the peppers in a air-tight container (or plastic bag) for about 10 minutes so that the skin comes off easily.
- Seed the peppers and tomatoes, remove the stem and the skin, then dice them in 1in (2 cm) or 0.25in (0.5cm) squares, depending on your preferences , Then, let drain.
- In a frying pan, add the olive oil, the peppers and the tomatoes, salt and black pepper on medum heat and sauté them for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold with a drizzle of olive oil.