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Algerian Cuisine

A delicious and spicy blend of food

By Rasma RaistersPublished 4 years ago 6 min read

Algeria, in Northern Africa, produces a large variety of Mediterranean fruit and vegetables. The main meat is lamb and fish and seafood are consumed as well. However, Algerians eat more meat than fish.

Algerians also may have soup as a starter as well as other appetizing appetizers.


Algerian Chili (Loubia B’dersa) – Bring small navy beans to a boil and let them stand in hot water for an hour, then drain. In a large soup pot cook onions in oil until tender then add chilies, garlic, paprika, pepper, and cumin. Thicken the mixture with tomato paste. Stir in tomatoes and add a cup of broth or water, bringing it all to a boil. Then add the navy beans, remaining water or broth, bay leaves, cayenne, and parsley sprigs, that are tied together with a string. Cook until the beans are tender. Before serving chilies, bay leaves and the parsley sprigs are discarded. Season with salt and minced parsley and cilantro. The chili might be served with vinegar on the side.

Algerian Harira – Lamb is seasoned with salt and pepper then browned in a stockpot. Add onions, and tomato paste and stir. Afterward add water, chickpeas, spice blend of one's choice. and brought to a boil. After an hour add white beans and bulghur wheat after a half an hour lentils, carrots, and celery. Finally vermicelli. Once the beans and vegetables are tender and the meat is ready it is served.

Bourek (Beef stuffed pastry rolls) – Beef and onions are stir-fried seasoned with salt and pepper. Then egg and parsley are added. The beef mixture is placed on a phyllo dough sheet a little at a time and packets are formed. Then the packets are browned on both sided and drained on paper towels. Served with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Dersat el’sane (Algerian Spicy Beef Tongue) – In a pot saute onions and add carrots and celery. Afterward, tomatoes, peppers, and a peeled beef tongue. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Bay leaves are added and the tongue and vegetables are boiled for 2 hours. Algerians cook tongue until very soft in texture it may be left firmer. When the tongue is done the broth and vegetables are put through a food mill and a tablespoon of spice is added. The sauce is boiled until slightly reduced. After slicing the tongue put it back into the broth and vinegar or lemon juice and heat through.

Spiced Potato Cakes – Boiled potatoes are mashed with spices, cilantro, eggs, and seasonings. Patties are formed. Covered and chilled for 30 minutes. The cakes are then fried until crispy and brown on both sides and drained.

Algerian soups are often thick and rich with a consistency like stew. Meat stews are served in deep soup dishes. Chickpeas are a common ingredient as well as orzo which are small soup pasta noodles.


Algerian Fish Soup – Onion is sautéed the garlic and tomatoes are added and simmered. Spices, potatoes, and broth are added. Afterward, add firm white fish and cook until fish flakes. Puree soup in a blender or food processor and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Chorba Akhtaboot – Saute onions and peppers. Add drained tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the octopus after cleaning it and cutting it into pieces. Everything is covered with water and cooked for several hours. Afterward, add bulgur wheat and then season with salt and spices.

Chorba Hamra – Lamb is sautéed with onion, coriander, cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon, and salt. After the meat is browned add six cups of broth along with tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, celery, and chickpeas. When almost ready add vermicelli. Serve in bowls with a slice of lemon on top.

Lentil Soup with Vegetables (Lentille Bil Khodra) – Saute cubed beef with onion and garlic. Add salt, pepper, cumin, caraway, cayenne, and turmeric. Afterward add tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery, parsley, and water. Bring to a boil and add lentils and tomato paste. Serve over rice or couscous.

Shorba – To a large pot add cubed chicken, onion, zucchini, potato, celery, carrot, salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika, tomato paste, oil, chickpeas (if using dried ones), and water. Then sauté for 20 minutes and add more water and set to boil. At this point add pasta and chickpeas (if canned. When done add parsley and mint and serve with lemon slices.


Algerian Salad – In a large bowl toss together sweet red peppers, tomatoes, sliced cucumber, onions, pitted and halved black olives, anchovy fillets, hard-boiled eggs, fresh basil or cilantro with olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad – Boil black-eyed peas until a little chewy along with coriander, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Make a dressing with oil, vinegar, salt, and paprika and add to the peas just as they are removed from the heat. Then allow to cool to room temperature and serve.

Chlada Bandjar, Algerian Beet Salad – Wash and trim beets, place on a sheet of foil, season with salt and drizzle with oil, wrap in foil, and bake in the oven for 2 hours or until tender. When cool slice. An Algerian vinaigrette consists of 1 part vinegar or lemon juice and 3 or 4 parts olive oil. To this, you can add chopped herbs, minced garlic, and shallots. If beets need more sweetness sugar can be added to the vinaigrette. Cover beets with as much vinaigrette as you like, salt may be added.

Salatat Khiyar – Thinly sliced cucumbers are placed in a bowl with green pepper, olives, and mint. The coriander, paprika, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper are added and tossed.

Main Dishes:

Algerian Chicken Couscous – Saute onion and garlic in oil. Then stir in cayenne, cinnamon, and cumin. Add tomatoes, carrots, celery, cauliflower, pepper, turnip, and broth. Boil for 15 minutes and add chicken breasts cut into strips and zucchini. Cook couscous as directed, fluff. and stir into mixture and serve.

Big Meatballs (Coclo) – Mix ground beef with cooked rice, garlic, egg, salt, bay leaf, mace, pepper, thyme, and olive oil then shape into 2 large balls. Place onions, cilantro and, water in a pan and add the meatballs. Cover the pan and simmer 2 or more hours. Remove and discard cilantro. Serve with rice or couscous.

Chicken with Chickpeas and Lemon – A large chicken is cut into pieces and set aside. Combine garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, and saffron. Add melted butter and stir well. Rub all over the chicken and allow to marinate overnight. Put the chicken in a pan and add parsley, cilantro, green onions, cinnamon stick, and enough water to cover and boil 1 hour. Sautee red onion until browned. Remove chicken from pan and add onions, chickpeas, and remaining herbs and simmer until liquid is reduced. Add lemon juice and remove from heat, discard cinnamon and pour the sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and cilantro.

Crevett Mekli (Qamrone) Mekli, Crevettes Sautees, Algerian Sauteed Shrimp – Rinse and drain shrimp. Saute hot chilies and shallots in olive oil and butter. Add garlic then shrimp and season with salt. Cook until shrimp just curl. Squeeze on lemon juice.

In the mornings Algerians usually drink mint tea and for ceremonies with pastries. They are heavy coffee drinkers and Arabic coffee is very popular. Fruit juice and soft drinks are common and drunk daily. Algerians used to produce large quantities of wine during the French colonization but production has reduced since independence.


About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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