Berkoukes Bel Hlib, Pearl Pasta Soup with Milk


Berkoukes are small round pasta called (petits plombs in French or pearl pasta). The Algerian Berkoukes is made from semolina flour, (coarsely-ground durum wheat) and is usually prepared during summer time when the weather is hot and sunny and stored into textile sacks for the cold winter. This recipe is very popular in Algeria (in Algiers, my city) and especially during winter season when it is cold, as this dish is eaten warm as a soup.

Bel Hlib means with milk in Algerian language.

Last year, I posted the spicy version, and today this is the simple yet delicious one.


Serves 4


  • 300g of petits plombs in French or pearl pasta or acini di pepe (berkoukes for me).
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1/2 liter of full fat milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of black pepper (more for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (for me)

PicMonkey CollagePicture on the top is the Pearl Pasta, picture in the bottom is the Berkoukes.

Procedures: Easy

  1. Boil a large pan with 1 liter of water.
  2. Pour the Berkoukes to the boiling water and cook until the Berkoukes absorbs all the water (do not forget to stir from time to time).
  3. When the Berkoukes is cooked, pour 1/2 liter of full fat milk and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and the black pepper.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the butter (if you want).
  6. Serve hot and add on the top the grated cheese.

This is a healthy soup, the addition of black pepper brings a hot and spicy taste to this comforting soup.

Bon Appétit.

Very often my grandmother prepared this delicious warm soup for me in cold winter, when I came back from school for my lunch break. I still remember sitting in the kitchen and waiting for my bowl!

24 thoughts on “Berkoukes Bel Hlib, Pearl Pasta Soup with Milk

  1. It seems like a great dish for a day when you need your food gentle and comforting! Makes me think of rice pudding or a super simple risotto. Interesting – and I love the memory that it makes you recall!

  2. This uses such humble ingredients, yet looks like a gourmet dish, Linda! I love the snow white appearance…it looks to be the perfect winter warm-up. 🙂 I had never heard the term “Berkoukes” before, yet I happen to have acini di pepe in my pantry now! All I need is the full fat milk and this could be on my table tonight. Thanks for sharing another delicious and intriguing Algerian dish…I ❤ these posts!!

    • You’re welcome, Nancy 🙂 This is a rustic soup… I use the small acini di pepe or pearls pasta when I don’t have berkoukes at home and the result is also delicious. I suggest you to add a lot of black pepper and cheese. I hope you will like this humble soup xx

  3. A charming soup, I can imagine how comforting it tastes! Would you say the pearl pasta might be similar to the giant Israeli couscous pearls? Or more in the direction of minute Italian pasta? I’d so like to try this, thanks, Linda. N xx

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