Lablabi / Leblebi – Tunisian chickpeas soup or stew and Tuna Egg Brik – fried pastry parcels.
MENA Cooking Club is back! After missing a month, we are back trying recipes from the Middle East and North Africa.
Tunisia is the country we have explored this last month, through dishes chosen by moi.
The dishes I chose: Brik, Lablabi and Kaber El Louz. All are fairly easy to recreate, affordable and because we usually have a main dish including meat / chicken I thought it would be a nice change for us to try a traditional vegetarian dish.
I didn’t realise until later, but Lablabi or Leblebi is very similar to the East Algerian dish Doubara.
Lablabi has a few differences: it includes day-old bread pieces, added at the end which soak up and thickens the soup come stew. It doesn’t always use tomatoes – as is the case with my recipe and is often given toppings such as eggs – boiled, fried or stirred in and therefore coddled, tuna and olives.
I made a fairly basic Lablabi without the extra toppings because they weren’t very appealing to me or my Algerian husband, but I did add bread pieces to my bowl for a more authentic dish.
I changed the spicing a little by using Tabil instead of cumin, along with Harissa. Tabil is a Tunisian spice mix or seasoning containing cumin, coriander, caraway, chilli and sometimes dry garlic too.
We were gifted some Tabil and Tunisian chilli powder a while ago from my husband’s Tunisian friend and I’ve been eager for this last month to arrive, so I could try them in an authentic Tunisian dish.
I made Lablabi a second time, to go with my Tuna Egg Brik. That time though I left out the bread pieces, added the Tunisian chilli powder to the chickpeas (not just for sprinkling as decoration) instead of Harissa, which made it a hotter dish. So it’s up to you which one you go with or why not try a mixture of both? If you can’t get hold of pre-made Harissa, you can try your hand at home-making this recipe and of course if you want to use just chilli powder, any chilli powder will work not just Tunisian.
Tunisian Food, according to Wikipedia is spicier than other North African cuisines. I don’t really know how true that is, but in the Maghreb region of North Africa the condiment Harissa is added to almost every dish according to ones liking, at the table.
Lablabi / Leblebi
I read that Lablabi is a Tunisian breakfast dish however, I prefer it for a light lunch.
Recipe adapted from here where you can also find a recipe for home-made Tabil.