بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Berkoukes, also called Aïch by the Berber peoples, is a popular Algerian traditional dish.
Tradtionally the berkoukes grains were hand rolled and dried out at home, thankfully we can easily find them in super markets nowadays and enjoy this deliciously vibrant stew anytime we want.
Berkoukes will bear different names and find different variations according to which region you visit. In west Algeri, in cities like Tlemcen, Sidi bel Abbes and Oran, more rich spices like Ras el Hanout are used, and Berkoukes is prepared on the occasion of certain celebrations, the Mouloud el Nabawi Charif, commemoration of the birth of the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him), which is coming up this Monday.
There's also another variation prepared in the Aurès Mountains, notably at Batna, a version called "Aïch el Har bel Queddid", where the grains of berkoukes are cooked in a a red sauce accompanied by spiced and meat salted dried meat Quedid; It is a winter dish in the Aures.
Others add Klil (dried curd), Khlii (dried animal fat) and dhane (salted butter) as well as olive oil. The dish is typically Chaoui.
The Berkoukes is also known in Morocco under the name of Berkoukech and in Tunisia.
I love this dish very much in the older months. I like it spicy, I always add a spoonful of harissa. Here I have made berkoukes with my very own innovation, with Autumn spices and pumpkin. The pumpkin will give a slight note of sweetness to the dish and the spices work well with the harissa to round out the rich flavors. This dish was really a treat for us, with a good homemade bread, khobz el zeitoun for example or kersa you can find in the bread category.
Please note, in the recipe I just chicken. I usually use a piece of chicken for each member of the family. But alternatively you can use leftover shredded chicken or use another type of meat like beef or even omit the meat altogether.
Also please note the cooking time for the berkoukes varies slightly depending on the size and quality. In Algeria, the smaller version I've used is called m'hamsa. The larger grain would be labelled as berkoukes. And homemade cooks faster than factory made. If you can't berkoukes where you live, you easily subsitute Italian acini de pepe or pastina.
I hope you all try this out soon ...
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- Looking for more berkoukes recipes? Check out this one out with beef.
- Or perhaps even this one with lamb.
- Or perhaps you're looking for another cold weather classic. Check out this Algerian white bean stew.
- Or browse through the recipe index to get inspired.
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