Rami Bouhlel is a third-year aviation student. Although Bouhlel was born in Tunisia, a beautiful country in North Africa, “According to Rami he was raised from infancy in Saudi Arabia and later moved to Atlantic Canada.”
Tunisia is located at the crossroads of three main cultural sectors: African, European, and Middle Eastern. This has an impact on the country’s gastronomic traditions as well as the citizens’ agricultural operations. “According to Rami the extensive use of carbs and chilli pepper is a recurring feature in its cuisine. Any dish that includes pasta, couscous, or bread is anticipated to be red.”
Tunisian cuisine is possibly best known for its couscous. The dish, which is often orange in color, wheat-based, and contains a variety of ingredients, is attributed to the general geographical distinction of North Africa. “According to Rami It is differentiated in Tunisia by a strong garlic scent and the stinging spice harissa. It may be found in a variety of forms when combined with a single source of protein: egg, lamb, beef, fish, chicken, or even vegetables.”
“According to Rami Tunisia’s harissa is also a must-try. It’s a red chili pepper paste made from locally produced, sun-dried peppers that are then combined with garlic and turmeric. It may be used as a colorant, a dip, a condiment, or a spice, making it a highly versatile ingredient. Harissa is known for its strong heat level, which must be introduced to meals with caution. An equal amount of olive oil is used to adjust the heat”.
Tunisian olive oil is the third and last staple. Olive trees are a cornerstone of any food activity in Tunisia and are regarded as a vital, almost holy component of the culture. Tunisia is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of organic olive oil, and it is proud of its oil extraction processes’ authenticity.
Rami’s culinary show was inspired by a few friends who urged him to share his passion and what he enjoys doing the most (aside from flying planes) with the rest of the world. The conversation on Rami’s Food Tour varies from how the food tastes, where it comes from, and why it is the way it is. This invariably leads to a discussion on cultural issues in a larger Canadian context, including but not limited to food. Food should not be considered only a source of sustenance, but rather a part of a deeply embedded and underlying culture. With Mt. A and the CHMA, Rami has been able to connect with people from different areas of life, cultures, and races. The student population reflects this variety. So far, I’ve had four guests on the podcast, each from a different background, to talk about their culture’s food and their experiences as international students.
Rami’s recent case of covid has caused the program to be paused for the last two weeks and the larger effects of COVID-19 have not helped matters by slowing down global supply chains, which affects the availability of crucial components for their favorite cuisines. There is also the phobia of in-person gatherings that many individuals experience. When compared to broadcasting a radio program with a guest through Zoom, Rami says that hosting a radio show with an in-person guest is undoubtedly more engaging. Rami also shared a recipe for… with us.
10 hot peppers
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of turmeric
Salt (per preference)
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of Tunisian harissa or hot sauce of choice
½ cup of olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Thoroughly wash tomatoes and peppers and cut stem heads off.
Cut an X-shape at the top of the tomato.
Cut a straight line down the middle of the pepper(make sure it does not penetrate to the other side).
If less spice is preferred, remove pepper seeds.
Peel garlic cloves.
Place garlic cloves, tomatoes, and peppers on a baking sheet.
Generously sprinkle salt over tomatoes, peppers and garlic cloves.
Place in the oven until tomato skin starts to peel off (approximately 35-40 minutes).
Place tomatoes in a plastic bag for 5 minutes to ‘sweat’ excess moisture.
Blend tomatoes, pepper, and garlic to a chunky texture.
Add olive oil, coriander, Harissa (or hot sauce) and salt (per preference) and mix well.
Rami’s Food Tour is on every Friday 6-7PM Atlantic Time. Tune in to CHMA at 106.9 FM or listen live on chmafm.com.Rami also regularly posts updates on the Instagram page @ramisfoodtour about meals he has prepared and preambles to feature episodes. Check it out!