The Cuisine of Algeria

Couscous is an important staple in the Algerian diet.
Couscous is an important staple in the Algerian diet.

The Cuisine of Algeria shows a blend of many cultures, which include Arab, Berber, Turkish, Spanish, Roman, and French cultures. Algerians love to incorporate spices into their meals. Lamb, chicken, fish, grains, vegetables, and dried fruits are common ingredients in Algerian cuisine. Tea is Algeria’s favorite drink served with fresh mint. Coffee is also a popular beverage in Algeria. Some of the most popular dishes in Algeria are couscous, jwaz, mechoui, dolma, and bagita.

5. Couscous

Algerian couscous seen with dried fruit.

Couscous is one of the most famous dishes in North Africa. Algerians consider couscous as their national dish. Although the origin of the dish is unclear, it is thought to have been first prepared by the Berbers. The dish is made by rolling tiny grains of semolina wheat into small pellets. The pellets are dried in the sun. Once the couscous is dried, it is prepared by steaming. A food steamer or couscoussier is used to steam the granules into a light and fluffy meal. Couscous is served with spicy vegetable stews such as zucchini stew, roasted potato stew, and carrot stew. Couscous also goes well with meat dishes including beef, lamb, mutton, and fish. Couscous is very popular in the US and European countries. France, UK, Spain, and Brazil shops sell couscous in pre-steamed form.

4. Jwaz

Jwaz is a favorite vegetable meal in Algeria. The word jwaz in Algerian lingo refers to any dish that cooks slowly in a pot. It is commonly prepared in rural Algeria and consists of carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions.

3. Mechoui

A large piece of Mechoui.

Mechoui is one of the favorite dishes of Algerian festivities. The dish involves roasted whole sheep or lamb. The dish is thought to have originated from Arab cuisine. The lamb is seasoned with garlic, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper on the inside and outside. The meat is left overnight to marinate. The lamb is then roasted slowly on a spit roaster and melted butter is applied on the skin to give it a crispy taste. The inside is stuffed with onions, garlic, coriander, and tomatoes for flavor. Mechoui is served as an appetizer. In traditional Algerian homes, the host pulls off the meat from the bone and hands it to the guests using bare hands. No utensils are used to eat Mechoui.

2. Bagita

Bagita is a type of bread in the Algerian cuisine. Bread is an integral part of every meal in the Algerian cuisine. The Bagita is homemade and is found in most Algerian homes. The Bagita is served with vegetable curries as well as meat stews. The Bagita has its origin in the French cuisine where it is referred to as a baguette.

1. Dolma

Stuffed dolma with lemon sauce.

Dolma is a meal of stuffed vegetables common in the Mediterranean cuisine particularly in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia. The word dolma is borrowed from the Turkish word "Dolmak" which means "to be stuffed". Therefore, the dolma dish is said to have Turkish origins. Some variations of dolma have grape leaves or cabbage leaves wrapped around meat fillings in Greek cuisine. The dish is also made using seafood whereby they call it "midye dolma".


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