The cuisine of Algeria is influenced by Algeria’s interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. It is characterized by a wealth derived from both land and sea products. Conquests or demographic movement towards the Algerian territory were two of the main factors of exchanges between the different peoples and cultures (Berbers, Arabs, Turks, Andalusians, French and Spaniards). This cuisine is a Mediterranean and North African cuisine with Berber roots.
Algerian cuisine offers a variety of dishes depending on the region and the season, but vegetables and cereals remain at its core. Most of the Algerian dishes are centered around bread, meats (lamb, beef or poultry), olive oil, vegetables and fresh herbs. Vegetables are often used for salads, soups, tajines, couscous and sauce-based dishes. Of all the Algerian traditional dishes available, the most famous one is couscous, recognized as a national dish.
Pork consumption is forbidden to Muslims in Algeria, in accordance with Sharia, the Islamic law.
Algerian National Dishes
Couscous originated as a Maghrebi dish of small (about 3 millimetres (0.12 in) diameter) steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina that is traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. Pearl millet and sorghum, especially in the Sahel, and other cereals can be cooked in a similar way and the resulting dishes are also sometimes called couscous.
Couscous is a staple food throughout the North African cuisines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Libya, as well as in Israel, due to the large population of Jews of North African origin. In Western supermarkets, it is sometimes sold in instant form with a flavor packet, and may be served as a side or on its own as a main dish.
Chakhchoukha, chekhechoukha or chakhchoura is a dish of Algerian cuisine, eaten often on festive celebrations, especially popular in the Aurès region. The dish consists of small pieces of rougag (thin round flatbread) mixed with marqa, a stew.
Chakhchoukha is an originally Chaoui culinary speciality that has now extended to other parts of Algeria. The word chakhchoukha comes from tacherchert, “crumbing” or “tearing into small pieces” in the Chaouia language. This dish originated in the hearty food shepherds needed when they came back home on cold winter nights.