Tunisian Lablabi

Lablabi or Lablebi (لبلابي) is a Tunisian dish based on chickpeas in a thin garlic and cumin flavoured soup.

It is served over small pieces of stale crusty bread and topped with egg.

Tuna and capers are optional.

This is a filling breakfast, starter or quick meal.

We think this dish tastes better with the right music so we’ve included Cafe Arabia from Mediterranea Radio.

Have a listen while you cook or eat.

Tunisian Lablabi
Print Recipe
Adapting this recipe: A description of how this dish might be prepared and served in its original location is available below. Check allergy advice on ingredients and ensure all food is cooked thoroughly.
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Tunisian Lablabi
Print Recipe
Adapting this recipe: A description of how this dish might be prepared and served in its original location is available below. Check allergy advice on ingredients and ensure all food is cooked thoroughly.
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Empty the chickpeas, with liquid, into a large shallow pan. Ensure they are covered by adding more water. Bring to the boil and simmer.
  2. Add the garlic, harissa, ground cumin and salt and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Crack the eggs into the stew and continue to simmer until the egg is completely cooked.
  4. Immediately before serving: Add the lemon juice, olive oil and bread. Stir.
  5. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

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If you were there:

Leblebi is Tunisia's comfort food.

Served in a big ceramic bowl, leblebi consists of a slow-boiled chickpea stew served over pieces of stale bread. The steaming mass will be topped with egg. Tuna and capers are optional.

A leblebi shop will commonly be found in a working class or 'chaabi' area. There will be one or more large aluminium vats, a stack of bowls, and mountains of bread.

lablabi shop

Image: Robert Joyce. Tunisia Live.

To begin you would take a bowl and be handed two pieces of thick Tunisian loaf. The bread will not be fresh; it will be somewhere between too old for a sandwich and stale.

You'd take your bread and tear it up into small pieces into your bowl making the pieces as small as you can. Your bowl would then be filled with a boiling-hot, salted chickpea stew.

A handful of spices, including cumin and harissa, will be thrown on your stew. One or more eggs will be added and you'll be given a shot glass full of olive oil, of which the desired amount can be poured on.

Your bowl would now contain a thick liquid slowly seeping into your mound of bread. With two spoons, mix things up to give the stew a steady consistency, soak your bread, and cook your eggs. Then simply enjoy with a cold drink.

Given the ingredients, leblebi's taste won't surprise you. This is a mealy, salty, oily, eggy flavour. Altogether, the meal is a positive and stomach-filling experience.

Adapted from: Lablabi: Strange; yet satisfying @ Tunisia Live.

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