Lablabi (Tunisian chickpea soup)

18 Jun


I didn’t want to handicap Tunisia’s chances in our World Cup 2018 cook-off by serving lablabi for breakfast, as is customary (see Oto with boiled eggs, World Cup 2014).

Personally, I quite like the idea of hot, spicy breakfast soups, but the girls would have punished Tunisia severely for the affront.

Instead, we enjoyed it for dinner, where it went down a storm.

I arranged the extras and garnishes on the table, so people could customise their lablabi as they saw fit.

My recipe is adapted from this one on the Slow Burning Passion website.

Lablabi (Tunisian chickpea soup)
(serves 4)

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tb harissa paste (or half harissa and half tomato paste)
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 2 thick slices good quality, day-old bread, torn into chunks
  • optional additions/garnishes: poached eggs, capers, pitted olives, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, tinned tuna, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped parsley or coriander, additional harissa, lemon wedges, toasted almonds.
  1. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and soak them overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Tip into a large pot, cover with four cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender (anything from 30 minutes to an hour).
  3. Add the onions, garlic, salt, cumin seeds and harissa. Simmer for another fifteen minutes, to allow the onions to soften and the flavours to come together.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Place a handful of bread in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the soup on top, then let each person add the extras and garnishes they prefer.

Family score: 8.7 out of 10

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