Algerian Berkoukes Soup with Pasta Bullets




Berkoukes also called El Aish in East of Algeria or Mhamessa, is similar as couscous seeds (except the Berkoukes seeds are bigger like bullets) and it’s made from semolina flour, (coarsely-ground durum wheat). No need to steam as couscous but cooked like pasta.

Serves 6


  • 250g of Berkoukes (petits plombs in French or pearl pasta or acini di pepe)
  • 250g of lamb (cut in small pieces)
  • 1  can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1  potato
  • 1  carrot
  • 1  zucchini
  • 100g of chickpeas (soaked a night before)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of red sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of harissa (spicy Tunisian paste) or 1 red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of caraway powder
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 1 bunch of coriander


  1. Chop the onion, peel the potato, the carrot and the coriander.
  2. Cut the potato, the carrot and the zucchini into small pieces.
  3. Wash and rinse the vegetables.
  4. In a blender mix the chopped tomatoes.
  5. In a cooking pot add the sunflower oil , the chopped onion, the half of the chopped coriander and the lamb.
  6. Add the salt, the black pepper, the red paprika, the harissa and the caraway powder.
  7. Start to cook slowly on a medium heat.
  8. With a wooden spoon mix the ingredients together and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the chickpeas, the potato, the carrot and the zucchini into the cooking pot.
  10. Pour 2 liters of water and the tomato coulis into the pan  and cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat.
  11. After 30 minutes, pour the Berkoukes (pearl pasta) and cook for another 30 minutes on low heat.
  12. From time to time stir with the wooden spoon (pasta should not stick on the pot).
  13. Remove from the stove and add the rest of the coriander.

Serve hot. This dish is very popular during winter time.

I choose potato, carrot and zucchini but you can add green beans, fava beans or butternut squash.

Bon Appetit.

13 thoughts on “Algerian Berkoukes Soup with Pasta Bullets

  1. Awesome, I keep seeing this “seeds” at one of the shops near by my place but never bought because I didn’t know what to do with them. I am sick and BF is too so will make this recipe soon as it seems super comforty! Thanks a lot for sharing 😉

  2. ah I am a soup fanatic. till now I simply have not turned down soup. and the flavours in this, I just know will be amazing! I can’t wait to force it upon someone to make it for me. If that fails guess i’ll do it myself.. =)

  3. As-Salaamu Alaykum,
    I tried your recipe yesterday, alhamdulillah my family and i really enjoyed it. i had the leftovers today that tasted even better!
    JazakAllah Khair.

    • Wa Alaykum Asalam Asmaa,
      I’m so glad to hear that the Berkoukes was a success for you and for your family. I love this dish and I agree with you the taste is even better the following morning.
      Have a nice week 🙂

  4. Pingback: Berkoukes Bel Hlib, Pearl Pasta Soup with Milk | La Petite Panière

  5. Pingback: Algerian Berkoukes Soup - Halal Home Cooking

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