10 Algerian Dishes That Are Mouthwatering

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These are the best algerian dishes that you need to try! The cuisine is famous for its mouth watering flavors, and is definitely worth a taste!

Stretching between Morocco and Tunisia, Algeria is the largest country in Africa that preserves a colourful culture. In addition to its indigenous Amazigh or Berber roots, it is a culture that was heavily influenced by reciprocal conquests and numerous ruling dynasties throughout the long centuries. This includes the Romans, the Spaniards, the Arabs, the Ottomans, the French – boy! And you can bet money that food is no different. Now with a bit of background history in mind, here is a list of 10 mouthwatering Algerian dishes that are sure to get your tastebuds tingling!

Cous-Cous

Of course, duh. That’s the first thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them you’re from North Africa. It really is in one of my all-time favourite dishes though, and no version beats the authentic dish!

Eaten hot, the saucy stew for pouring on top usually includes chickpeas, pumpkin or swede, potatoes, courgettes, carrots, hot peppers, Brussels sprouts (optional, but they combine amazingly here with their nutty flavour) or cabbage, and depending on whether you eat meat or not, the dish is usually served with either chicken or lamb and the one spice that I like to add and can’t go without – cumin! Yum. I also love to drizzle a bit of olive oil on top right before serving it but again, this is optional!

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Probably like a lot of the foods on this list, couscous is also eaten in neighbouring North African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia, but of course the style in which it is cooked and served varies a little.

Mhajeb, Mahjouba

Goodness, my mouth is watering already. It is physically and morally impossible to taste mhajeb and not fall in love with mhajeb instantly. Guys, I’m just warning you now. This is one of the Algerian dishes that’s sort of like a fine pastry made with semolina, filled with a hot and spicy tomato and onion mix. When my mum makes these, I would eat about five within 3 minutes (and mind you, the pieces are quite large). Yes.

Bourek

Usually eaten during Iftar (breaking of the fast meal), this is another succulent filled-pastry matter. The pastry used for these is a bit like egg rolls and they’re filled with a delicious mixture of mashed potato, olives, parsley, onions, egg and soft triangle cheese (optional but yum) before they’re deep-fried in oil. Some only use cheese and spinach and others like to switch up the filling a little and use either tuna or mince meat (drools). Make sure to squeeze some lemon on top before taking a bite and voila. Bonne appétit!

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I believe bourek is most definitely one of the many cultural aspects in Algeria influenced by Turkish rule between the 16th and 19th centuries!

Tajine Lahlou (Sweet Tajine)

Depending on what part of Algeria you’re in, some like to call this heavenly dish either Tajine Lahlou (Algerian-Arabic for Sweet Tajine) or Lham Lahlou which means Sweet Meat. I prefer it without the meat, and it is basically a deliciously sweet, thick caramelised fruit stew bursting with orange blossom and cinnamon flavours, combining caramelised components of apple or pear (optional) dried prunes, dried apricots, raisins and ready-peeled, ready-sliced roasted almonds. This mouthwatering dish is usually served with Chbah Safra or Patte d’amande which is French for Almond Pastry. I guess you could say it’s kind of like marzipan but moulded into cute little star, heart, round, square or triangular shapes and then fried.

Tajine Lahlou or Lham Lahlou is another staple dish in Ramadhan, and it’s usually made specially to celebrate the first few days of the Islamic month, because it’s considered a good way to sweeten the coming of Ramadhan.

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Ghrayef, Baghrir

In Constantine, we like to call it Korsa. You can say these are the Algerian version of crepes or pancakes and they’re quite simple to make but very pleasing to the palate, as usual! The mixture is made of fine semolina, yeast, milk, an egg, some salt and after resting for about an hour, it is scooped onto a ready heated pan and is cooked till it’s golden, brown at the base and loads of little honeycomb-like holes appear on the whiter, spongier surface. The pancakes are then coated with melted butter (unsalted!) and some sugar. Some like to serve them with honey instead of sugar, or olive oil instead of butter, whichever is down to personal preference.

These are delicious eaten for breakfast or as an evening snack if you’re really craving them (which is what I like to do!)

Mkartfa

North African tomato pasta! But with a deeper, richer sauce. Traditionally, the pastry used in this dish is homemade, which makes it all the more yummy. It’s shaped a bit like linguini and is tossed into a hot, flavoursome tomato sauce with meat, chickpeas and carrots. Perfect for a cold, winter’s evening.

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Thrida

This is another North African staple. Thrida is one of the more delicious Algerian dishes made up of shredded semolina pastry and a light, hot and spicy tomato stew with chickpeas, carrots, courgettes and meat. It’s usually served for Eid-ul-Adha and Mouled Nabawi Cherif, which is Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

I prefer the very Algerian version called Chakhchoukha which is served with largely-shredded pastry, like this one:

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Moloukhiya

This is one of my absolute loves. Served with either tender lamb or shredded chicken, (or rabbit or quail in Egypt) this dish is a favourite in North Africa as well as the Middle East. Of course, the ways in which it is made varies across the regions but we are talking about Algerian moloukhiya here! Moloukhiya is a green spinach-like plant that’s sun-dried and completely ground into a flour-like consistency. The plant is then cooked on the heat for a very long time and the chicken is added as well as different spices, chillies or Harissa paste. It may look quite unusual but it smells and tastes incredibly delicious and is usually served with Matlouh, which is traditional Algerian bread made with yeast.

Chorba Frik

This is one of the more hot and spicy Algerian dishes. Chorba Frik is a heavy tomato soup with meat that is very commonly eaten as a starter soup during the holy month of Ramadhan. It’s also served with either Matlouh or French baguette. Chorba frik is bursting with flavour and it’s particularly comforting during the colder months.

Tlitli

The pastry grains used in this dish are shaped a bit like rice, only thicker. In the West, it’s often referred to as birds tongue but in Algeria, we call it tlitli. Tliti is served as a pasta-like dish with either red or white sauce, chickpeas, green chillies, boiled eggs and tender pieces of white or red meat (or both). Yummmm.

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And those were my all-time favourite, top 10 Algerian dishes! I hope this gave you a bit of an insight into the rich, Algerian cuisine. Desserts might even be next, so keep your eyes peeled!

Are you ready to test out any of these Algerian dishes? Let us know in the comment section below!

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