Berber cuisine

Berber cuisine

The Amazigh (Berber) cuisine is considered as a traditional cuisine which evolved little in the course of time.

Berber cuisine differs from one area to another within North Africa. Thus, it is not easy to speak about a typically Berber cuisine. A classification is essential, in order to emphasize the specificities of each Berber group. Zayanes of the region of Khénifra around the Middle Atlas have a cuisine of a remarkable simplicity. It is based primarily on corn, barley, ewe's milk, goat cheese, butter, honey, meat, and game. Popular authentic Berber dishes of Tunisian, Moroccan, Algerian, and Libyan cuisine include tajine, couscous, shakshouka, pastilla, msemen, merguez, asida, lablabi, harissa, makroudh, harira, sfenj, and ahriche.

Foods and dishes

Couscous with vegetables
Tajine with carrots

Berber foods and dishes include:

  • Bouchiar (fine wafer without yeast soaked with butter and natural honey)
  • Bourjeje (pancake made containing flour, eggs, yeast and salt)
  • Bread made with traditional yeast
  • Couscous, a dish enjoyed worldwide
  • Mechoui or lamb barbecue - a whole sheep roasted in artisanal ovens designed especially for this use. The sheep is coated with natural butter, which makes it tastier. This dish is mainly designed to be served at festivities.
  • Mamita A pan full with different kinds of vegetables, meat and a lot of spices.
  • Pastilla – (Berber: besṭila)
  • Tajine, a very diversified dish, made in various forms:
  • Tahricht (containing offal: brain, tripe, lung, heart; these ingredients are rolled up with the intestines on a stick of oak and cooked on embers)

Although they are the original inhabitants of North Africa, Berbers lived in very contained communities, in spite of various incursions by Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomans and French. Having been subject to limited external influences, these populations lived free from factors making for acculturation.

Couscous and tajine are the principal dishes for special feasts and celebrations.

See also


Much of the content of this article comes from French-language WorldHeritage article, accessed July 31, 2006.