Maghreb Tastes: Ibrahim Rekik
When we started Our Tunisian Table, we envisioned creating a place where we could not only share Tunisian food with those less familiar with it, but also be a community for the greater Tunisian diaspora. A place to discover other cool Tunisians doing their thing across the globe. Part of that includes sharing interviews with Tunisians (and other North Africans) whose work we admire, learning about what makes them tick, and most importantly, finding out what they like to eat. ;)
For our first interview, please welcome Ibrahim Rekik! We first found him through Instagram of course, and are always inspired by his colorful food compositions, homemade bread shots, and tastes of Tunisia in Germany! Read on for more, and let us know in the comments if there’s anyone else you’d like to see featured here!
Name: Ibrahim Rekik
Hometown: Sfax (Tunisia)
Current town: Hannover (Germany)
Profession: Software Engineer
Who is your favorite Tunisian cook and why?
My mom is my favorite Tunisian cook. I love her “shakshuka" and each time I eat one bite of it, a million different memories come flooding back into my mind. When she cooks, it’s as if she has the magical ability to add all of her love into the pot, as if it is an ingredient.
Favorite Tunisian dish to eat: Kafteji
Is there any Tunisian dish you hate? Which one and why? I love all Tunisian dishes.
If you cook, what is the first dish you ever made/learned how to make?
The first dish I learned to cook is called “taklia.” Taklia is the base sauce for couscous with fish, before adding the water. It is basically a spicy tomato sauce with green peppers, harissa, a lot of cumin, and garlic. As a kid, I loved the taklia so much and every time my mom prepared it, I asked her to spread me some of this sauce on a slice of bread. Sometimes it annoyed her, because it distracts her from cooking. One day she told me, “I have to teach you how to prepare this sauce,” hoping that I would leave her in peace while cooking. This was the first dish I learned how to cook; however to this day, l ask my mom for a slice of bread with taklia.
What is your go-to Tunisian dish to cook and why: Shakshuka is my go-to Tunisian dish because it is easy to make and I have always some tomatoes, hot peppers, and eggs in my pantry.
Favorite Tunisian sweet/dessert: Bambalouni (Doughnuts fried in oil, then sprinkled with sugar or soaked in honey)
What one ingredient defines Tunisian food for you? (Hot) peppers
If you live abroad, what do you miss most about Tunisia? Mom’s food!
What do you miss least? The hustle and bustle
What Tunisian food/dish do you miss most? The marka- sauce with meatballs
Your favorite place in Tunisia and why: The medina of Sfax, because I spent a lot of my childhood there and I had lots of happy culinary memories there
What is always in your pantry? Good olive oil, garlic, peppers
What is your favorite food/type of food? I love Italian food.
Do you have a favorite cookbook? My favorite cookbook is called “Jerusalem.” It has a beautiful cover and includes a lot of great recipes.
Any current movies, documentaries, or television shows about food that you're enjoying? Chef’s Table, Ugly Delicious, The Mind of a Chef, practically all Netflix food shows. I learned a lot from these shows; they widen my horizon about food and travel.
Thank you, Ibrahim!