2 dried red chillies
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
15g (1 tablespoon) butter
4 bone-in chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs) or 1 kg bone-in chicken, skin on
2 red onions, finely chopped
250g (1½ cups) canned chickpeas, rinsed, or cooked dried chickpeas
salt and pepper
finely chopped coriander, to garnish

Chtitha is one of the most popular Algerian sauces – especially common with chicken and chickpeas. It is generally prepared with a simple dersa garlic-chilli paste as its base. While it typically uses dried chillies or cayenne pepper, you can also use a fresh red chilli in the dersa if desired.


View the recipe collection here


1.To make a dersa paste, cut the chillies open, shake out the seeds and put the flesh into a small bowl.
2.Cover with hot water and leave to soak for 30 minutes; drain.
3.Transfer to a mortar with the garlic, paprika and cumin and using a pestle, pound to a paste.
4.Season with salt and pepper and stir in 60ml (¼ cup) water to loosen. Set aside.
5.Heat the oil and butter in a large pot or casserole dish (Dutch oven) over a medium-high heat, add the chicken and onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until the chicken is browned on each side, about 10 minutes.
6.Stir in the dersa paste and turn the chicken to coat.
7.dd the chickpeas and 175ml (¾ cup) water, mostly cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. It should be saucy.
8.Add a touch of water if needed. Scatter over the coriander to garnish and serve.

This is an edited extract
from The North African
Cookbook by Jeff
Koehler, photography
by Simon Bajada,
published by Phaidon,