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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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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Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik or Jari as it is known in the western part of the country is the most requested soup during Ramadan. Chorba Frik is just one of those recipes that you MUST know if you are married to an Algerian or wanting to. It’s right up there next to Couscous, lol. No pressure though. This recipe is easy to follow and just as wonderful. From the smokiness from the frik to the tanginess of the cilantro, this recipe will be sure to tantalize your tastebuds. Pair this soup with bourek, bread and harissa.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lamb cubed (beef and or chicken can be substituted)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 zucchinis cut into demi circles
  • 2 potatoes quartered
  • 2 carrots cut into 3 sections
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup frik (cracked wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chick peas (soaked overnight)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • beef/chicken bouillon (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown quickly. Season with spices and add chickpeas.
  3. Add 1/2 of cilantro.
  4. Continue browning the meat and add the carrots and potatoes. Seer the vegetables slightly.
  5. Add the 8 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Lower heat to a simmer and continue for 15 minutes then add zucchini. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Remove vegetables into a separate bowl with 1 cup of broth.
  8. Emulsify vegetables until smooth with hand blender or crush with potato masher/fork.
  9. Place vegetable puree back into pot and add frik.
  10. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and add lemon juice. Adjust taste with salt.

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