Djouez Jelbana bel Kefta ~ Green Peas Stew with Meatballs; A sweet savoury stew flavoured with a delicious blend of North African spices. Cooks in 30 minutes and if you aren’t shelling fresh peas, can be prepped in 20 minutes.
In the Maghreb countries of North Africa, a Stew is known by different names (& spelling variations) depending on the country and region of said country you are in. Most widely a Stew is known as a Tagine/Tajine but, it can also be called Marqa/Marga and in this region of Algeria I’m in, it’s known as Djouez/Djwaz/Douez.
While I’ve named my recipe djouez jelbana, it’s not solely an Algerian recipe, rather Maghrebi.
While we are talking about names, you may notice the green peas / Jelbana are mentioned first in the title instead of the meatballs. That’s because here we mostly base our meals around vegetables rather than meat/poultry.
You can even make this recipe without any meat (reduce seasoning and spices) OR, by replacing the meat with vegetables such as carrot, fennel and artichoke.
This stew is all about the sweetness of green peas. I used fresh and the peas were smaller than I normally get, taking me more time to shell. You can definitely use frozen to save yourself some time.
Recently I began cooking more often with Harissa and adding it to my food for extra flavour. In this dish, I went light-handed during cooking because, as always I want my kids to eat without complaining! But when serving I added more Harissa to my portion for one spicy, sweet and meaty dish.
Djouez Jelbana bel Kefta
Maghrebi North African Green Peas Stew with Meatballs
- 300 g Green Peas (Fresh or Frozen)
- 500 g Mince meat (Halal Beef, 90/10 or 80/20)
- 4 Potatoes (Small, peeled & quartered)
- 1/2 Onion (Large, coarsely grated)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Ground Cumin (divided)
- 2 tsp Ground Coriander (divided)
- 3/4 tsp Harissa (divided)
- 3/4 tsp Salt (divided)
- 1/2 tsp Ras El Hanout
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Pinch Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Small Bunch Fresh Coriander (Leaves only, finely chopped)
- 1 Small Bunch Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (Leaves only, finely chopped)
- To Taste Harissa
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the minced beef, a teaspoon of ground cumin, a teaspoon of ground coriander, half a teaspoon harissa paste, about 1/2tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper.
- By hand mix spices into the mince meat.
- Divide into balls, each should be about a tablespoon of mixture. Set aside.
- In a tajine/clay cooking pot/regular cooking pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion, salt and remaining spices, stir.
- Allow the onion to soften, this should take a couple of minutes.
- Put the meatballs into the pot without mixing, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add hot water just enough to cover the meatballs.
- Add potatoes.
- Add peas.
- Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Serve sprinkled with coriander and parsley and stir in harissa as desired.
If desired, Brown meatballs in a frying pan before adding to pot OR after cooking.
Recipe adapted from here.