Berkoukes (Algerian Couscous Stew)

Berkoukes (Algerian

Berkoukes is a traditional Berber dish made of a large couscous that is a hand rolled semolina pasta shaped like small balls or pellets. Of course throughout the country the recipes vary from the Kabylie region of the Atlas Mountains to the Capital of Algiers. Typically the recipes from Algiers are mild in flavor whereas in the mountains dried meats and fats are added for a much stronger flavor. Second after taste is how much sauce is in it. My husband always wants extra sauce, but for this dish not much is needed. Depending how you like it doesn’t make much difference, either add more water or not. Serve this dish on a cold winter’s night with a drizzle of olive oil and warm kesra or matlou3.


  • 1 pound meat (lamb, chicken, beef)
  • 1 1/2 cups berkoukes
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 cups hot water +/-
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown.
  3. Season and continue to brown.
  4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and slightly caramelize.
  5. Add chickpeas, carrots and potatoes, continue to brown.
  6. Then add cilantro and parsley, stir then add hot water, bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  7. Lower temperature and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Mix in zucchini and peas, simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Add 1 cup of water, and berkoukes cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Stir frequently and check to see if more water is needed as the berkoukes will absorb a lot of water. Garnish with parsley and harissa, serve with bread.

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