Tunisian chick pea stew
Where to start? I was introduced to lablabi late one night after clubbing. For young people in Tunisia it is the equivalent of fourth meal at Taco Bell. Best eaten after exiting Calypso or another open air club around 3am still sweaty and filled with adrenaline. More traditionally it’s a breakfast food, a street food best eaten in small local restaurants. The more “chaabi” or local, the better.
The basic Lablabi is a tasty chick pea stew served with chunks of day old French bread. Of course there are multiple add-in’s available. Most Tunisians add harissa, egg and tuna which I highly recommend. The more adventurous ask for some lamb head or knee bones!
- 1 lb dried chickpeas, sorted and soaked overnight or at least 3 hrs (you can substitute 3 cans of prepared chickpeas as well)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons Tunisian harissa (a spicy paste which hopefully we will carry soon!)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 to 1 cup of Tunisian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Very good with our Garlic Infused)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Day old French Bread broken into 1-2 inch chunks
- Egg which can be poached directly in the pot of lablabi then ladled out
- More harissa – lots more!
- More cumin
- More Olive Oil
Soak chickpeas and when ready to make Lablabi rinse well and add to about 8 cups cold water. You may also substitute broth for the water. Bring to boil. Add garlic, cumin and harissa. Let simmer for about 1-2 hrs until chickpeas are soft. Add salt to taste ( you won’t need any if you use broth). Add more water as needed.
If you use prepared chick peas you only need to cook for 30 minutes or so.
When chick peas are soft you can use an immersion blender or smash some of the soft chickpeas if you want a thicker broth. If you like a thin broth just leave as is.
When ready to eat stir in the Olive Oil, lemon juice and parsley. If you want to eat with eggs you can poach the eggs directly in the stew. Crack an egg in each corner of the pot and let cook for 1-5 minutes depending on how runny you like it. Ladle the stew over a bowl filled with chunks of bread or just eat with bread.
Spoon extra harissa and Olive Oil on top. You can also add a spoon full of tuna on top if you’d like.