Algerian Couscous: A Flavorful Taste of Algeria

Algerian Couscous

Algerian couscous refers to a traditional dish from Algeria that features couscous, a grain-like pasta made from semolina wheat. Algerian couscous is typically prepared by steaming the couscous grains and serving them with a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and zucchini, along with meat, such as lamb or chicken. Additionally, the dish is often seasoned with aromatic spices and served with a flavorful broth or sauce. Moreover, Algerian couscous is known for its rich flavors and is a popular staple in Algerian cuisine.

What are the ingredients of Algerian couscous?

Ingredients of beef broth:

  • Meat pieces: 500-1000 grams (beef, goat, lamb, chicken)
  • Cooked chickpeas: 400 grams
  • Water: 1 liter
  • Carrots: 2 medium-sized
  • Celery stalks: 2
  • Zucchini pieces: 2
  • Onions: 2 medium-sized
  • Potato : 2 medium-sized
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Ras el Hanout seasoning: 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin: 1 teaspoon
  • Ground coriander: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: ¾ teaspoon
  • Cinnamon: ½ teaspoon
  • Black pepper: ½ teaspoon
  • Harissa paste: ½ tablespoon (adjust to desired spiciness).
  • Tomato paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Cooking oil.

Ingredients of couscous

  • Water: 400 ml
  • Cooked couscous: 250 grams (can be semolina, wheat, or barley couscous)
  • Unsalted butter: 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt: pinch

What are the steps to prepare Algerian couscous?

Preparing the vegetables:


  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise.
  • Cut each half in the middle to make quarters


  • Peel the carrots.
  • Cut each carrot lengthwise in half.
  • Cut each half in the middle


  • Peel the onion.
  • Finely chop the onion.


  • Cut the celery lengthwise.

Preparing the meat:

  • Prepare a large pot.
  • Heat the cooking oil over medium heat.
  • Add the pieces of meat.
  • Allow the meat to brown for a few minutes, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  • Lift the pieces of meat and transfer them to a plate.

Steps to prepare vegetable and meat broth:

  • Reduce the heat and add the onions to the same saucepan as the meat.
  • Stir in the onions and cook until they become soft, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Return the meat pieces to the pot and add all the spices for the broth.
  • Stir the ingredients together and add the water. Increase the temperature.
  • Heat the mixture until it reaches a boiling point, then lower the heat. Allow it to simmer for approximately 40 minutes until the meat becomes tender.
  • Add the cut vegetables to the mixture and continue stirring for 20 minutes.

Steps for steaming couscous:


  • Place the couscous in a large bowl.
  • Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Stir the couscous with both hands, ensuring the grains are coated with the olive oil.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 cup of water over the grains and rub them again with your hands.
  • After the vegetable broth has simmered, uncover the pot.
  • Position a steaming pot, equipped with holes at the bottom, onto the vegetable pot.
  • Grease a steaming pan with oil.
  • Add the couscous to the steaming pan and spread it evenly.
  • Cover the steaming pot once you see steam rising from it.
  • Allow the couscous to cook for approximately 10 minutes.


  • Remove the pot containing the cooked couscous and set it aside.
  • Leave the pot with the vegetable stock uncovered to continue cooking.
  • Pour the couscous back into a large bowl, using a fork or your hands to separate the grains.
  • Sprinkle salt over the couscous, followed by half a cup of water.
  • Mix the couscous and water together with your hands.
  • Place the steaming pot back on top of the pot with the vegetable stock.
  • Add the couscous to the steaming pot once more.
  • Repeat the steaming process, allowing the couscous to steam for another 10 minutes.


  • Expand the steaming pot and incorporate the chickpeas into the broth.
  • Pour half a cup of water into the couscous and thoroughly stir it with your hands.
  • Return the steamer to the setup for a final round of steaming, lasting 10 minutes.
  • Introduce the remaining olive oil and butter to the couscous.
  • Rub the couscous vigorously with your hands, ensuring it is well mixed, and then set it aside.

How to serve Algerian couscous?

  1. Put the couscous into a spacious and deep dish.
  2. Use a slotted ladle to moisten the couscous grains with the vegetable broth.
  3. Arrange the vegetables from the vegetable broth as a garnish on top of the couscous.
  4. Position the pieces of meat in the center of the couscous.
  5. Drizzle a little broth and sauce over the couscous to cover it.
  6. Serve the Algerian couscous while it's hot.


In conclusion, Algerian couscous is a traditional dish that features couscous grains cooked with a variety of vegetables, meat, and flavorful spices. Additionally, the process involves steaming the couscous, preparing a vegetable and meat broth, and assembling the dish with garnishes. Algerian couscous is known for its rich flavors and is enjoyed as a hearty and satisfying meal. Moreover, it showcases the culinary heritage and cultural traditions of Algerian cuisine. 


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