Lablabi (or Lablebi)
Lablabi (or Lablebi)
One of the most iconic street food dishes you can find in Tunisia, Lablabi is a cheap and nutritious quick fix that is sure to fill you up. It’s great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even after a long night out with friends. The dish likely came about some time during or after the 16th century when the Ottoman empire took control of the modern day Tunisian region. In fact, the term ‘lablabi’ is a Turkish word that means ‘a snack made with chickpeas’ which is quite accurate when you think about the nutritious purpose the dish served.
Each bowl of this brothy chickpea soup is customized based on the added toppings (there are many!), therefore it’s going to look different depending on who it’s for. That’s why we haven’t listed ingredient quantities, you get to decide how much of what you want in your lablabi! As our mother always says…. ‘ainek mizenik’ (‘your eyes are your scale’).
1 lbs dried chickpeas (purchase and soak the day before)
Olive Oil Canned Tuna
Extra virgin olive oil
Stale bread (purchase fresh bread the day before or rip a piece of bread to shreds into your bowl a few hours before serving so that they stale up by the time it’s time to eat)
Transfer dried chickpeas to a large bowl and fill with water and 1 tbsp salt. Cover with a towel and set aside.
After about 24 hours, check on the chickpeas. They should be fully soaked and there should be a thin layer of foam at the top. Rinse and transfer the chickpeas to another container. Keep the chickpeas that you want to use for the lablabi and freeze the rest in a ziplock bag.
Transfer the soaked chickpeas into a pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cover the pot with a lid and bring the heat down to low. Slow cook the chickpeas for 1 hour or until very soft (it may take longer)
Take a piece of stale bread and rip it into small pieces. These should go in a bowl that you will use for serving one portion of the lablabi..
Note: If you prefer to skip the chickpea soaking and cooking process, you can use canned pre-cooked chickpeas instead and skip steps 1 through 4 and jump to step 5.
In a separate pot, boil an egg (or however many eggs you and your friends want - 1 to 2 eggs per portion is ideal in our opinion) for about 3 minutes until it is partially cooked and the yolk is slightly runny. You can also poach the eggs directly into the simmering pot then scoop the egg, broth, and chickpeas into your bowl.
Pour a desired amount of chickpeas and broth into the bowl with the stale bread pieces.
To the same bowl, add 1 to 2 egg(s), olive oil-preserved tuna, and a desired amount of true-to-origins harissa paste (mild, spicy, or smoky).
Add a desired amount of cumin, lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.
Mix altogether with two spoons.
Dig in while still hot and fresh!