Cultural Cooking: Al-aïch (Couscous with Chicken) from Mauritania

July 23rd, 2014

Recipe Title: Al-aïch (Couscous with Chicken)

Submitted by: Maimouna Dieye

PTPI Affiliation: Nouakchott, Mauritania Community Chapter

Al-aïch (Couscous with Chicken)

Al-aïch (Couscous with Chicken)

Recipe Description: Al – aïch is the traditional Mauritanian recipe for a classic dish of a chicken and bean stew flavored with dried fish that’s served with aïch couscous cooked in the chicken. This form of couscous is typically made from either maize or millet flour moistened with water and rolled between the fingers to form balls about 2 mm in diameter (as a result, it’s much larger than other types of couscous). It’s typically served with a meat-based sauce (either chicken, lamb or goat). For proper aïch, the couscous is cooked in the broth from the stew until you have a porridge. However, you can also simply add millet, barley or wheat flour to the broth to make the porridge.

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours


Note: Remember to pay attention to the unit of measurement used. Check conversions online or click here for a quick guide to U.S. and metric conversions. 

1 whole, oven-ready chicken.

1 dried fish (khleii), flaked and with bones removed (optional)

2 onions, chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

500 grams dried beans (chickpeas or black-eyed peas typically)

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Oil for frying

Paprika and ground coriander seeds (kosbor), to taste

500 grams aïch (couscous)

Recipe Steps: 

1. The night before, soak the beans in plenty of water. (Most West and North African dried chickpeas are quite fresh and do not need pre-soaking.)

2. The following day, drain the beans, put in a large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until just tender. (The exact time will depend on the type and age of the beans used.)

3.  Joint the chicken into serving-sized pieces.

4. Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Add the chicken pieces and fry until browned all over. Remove with tongs and set aside.

5. Add the onions to the pan and fry until starting to color then add the tomatoes, beans, ground coriander seeds, salt and black pepper. Put in plenty of paprika (at least 2 tablespoons) to color the dish then add the chicken pieces back to the pot.

6. Pour in enough water to cover all the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

7. In the meantime, steam the aïch until tender (about 20 minutes).

8. When the aïch is cooked add to a bowl (gassôa) with a knob of butter. Stir to detach the grains and coat them in the butter.

9. When the chicken has cooked, remove from the stock then stir the cooked aïch into the broth. Bring to a simmer and allow to heat through.

10. Turn into serving dish and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.


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PTPI Chapter Project Grants: Lilongwe, Malawi

July 18th, 2014

PTPI provides Chapter Project Grants so that our global chapter network may carry out cultural, educational, and humanitarian projects that exemplify the mission of PTPI. Chapters provide reports after their projects have been completed.

Students at the school demonstrate how they use the donated supplies

Students at the school demonstrate how they use the donated supplies

Chapter Name: PTPI’s Lilongwe, Malawi Student Chapter

Project Name: Cheering Up the Blind Students at Malingunde Resource Center for the Blind

Number of Beneficiaries: 155

Project Description: A community needs assessment was done and we found out that pupils at the Malingunde Resource Center had a number of problems hindering their education. For instance, the pupils had no materials for communicating. We discussed with both the teachers and students about their needs. Communication materials and food stuffs were among the materials donated.

Outcomes and Impact of the Project: The students were provided materials that enabled them to learn without problems. The food donations assisted them very much, and bathing and washing soap were also donated, easing problems in terms of soap.

Reflection on Lessons Learned: Several things were learned: that fellow youth, especially the blind, are learning with difficulties; that we, as students, need to focus our attention for help wide enough so that we can reach out to the less privileged; that the government is not doing enough to assist people with impaired vision in their education; and that we need to work hard in sourcing for support that would be donated to these blind students.

Grants are awarded twice per year and applications are due February 1 and/or August 1. All applicants will be notified within 30 days following the application deadline and funds will be distributed in March and September. Chapters may apply for and receive more than one grant in a year. Preference will be given to chapters who have not received a grant within the calendar year.

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Why Does Global Competency Matter?

July 16th, 2014

Why Does Global Competency Matter Info Grapic_FINAL

To learn more about People to People International, visit or check out our Facebook Page.