If you ever visited Sfax, you must have eaten “Marqua B Khobz Ch3ir”. It is a fish stew that is served with barley bread. Sfax is a city in the south of Tunisia that people consider the second capital of Tunisia. There are many dishes that pertain to the Sfaxian culture and one of them being “Marqua B Khobz Ch3ir”.
This dish is one of the most popular dishes in Sfax and is cooked on average once a week in every household. The bread itself can be bought in any bakery.
However, like everything in life, homemade is the best. The good news is that making it is a pretty simple. So definitely try making it.
You can eat the Tunisian barley bread with the OG fish stew, or you can simply dip it in extra virgin olive oil. In addition, health conscious people use this bread instead of plain white bread because it is particularly rich in fiber since the whole grain is used. Fiber is important for digestion and heart health. Barley is also high in selenium, manganese, copper, and many other vitamins.
Now this bread is not fluffy – it is dense and grainy just so you know what to expect. You can’t make a sandwich with it. Best way to use it is either in a stew, soup, or dipped in a sauce.
INGREDIENTS: (serves 6-8)
- 1 kg of cracked barley (very fine)
- 1 L of water
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp of nigella seeds (or any other seed of your choice – optional)
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil + more for coating the dish and the bread
Tunisian Barley Bread RECIPE:
How to cook Tunisian Barley Bread “Khobz Ch3ir”
- In a large bowl, add the barley and salt. Then add the water and mix using your hands. The dough should be wet when you touch it. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 240 C. Knead the dough for 10-15 min using you hands or using an electric stand mixer.
- Coat your dish of choice with olive oil. I used a large circular glass dish. You can use one single dish or multiple small dishes for the bread. The thickness of the bread should be about 1.5-2 cm.
- Score the bread with a knife using the pattern of your choice. Place in the oven for 30 min or until golden on top.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool. Once it is easy to handle, you can cut the pieces with your hands and place in a large dish. Then, dig in!
This Tunisian Barley bread recipe is part of the #TasteTunisia initiative. In search of Tunisian cuisine, through a series of articles/videos, Carthage Magazine offers a window to the Tunisian food and recipes.
The Taste Tunisia initiative is supported by Carthage Magazine and led by international registered dietitians-nutritionists from Tunisia, making it the ultimate initiative that celebrates and promotes Tunisian cuisine.
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- Tunisian-Style Stuffed Dates — Tunisia’s Healthiest Sweet Appetizer
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- Tunisia’s National Dish: COUSCOUS
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- A Unique Pizza with a Taste of Tunisia: Harissa Infused Veggie Pizza
- Mom’s Orange Cake — Tunisia’s Winter Dessert
- Slata Tounsia – Tunisia’s Summer Salad
- Octopus Barley Soup “Tchich” — Tunisia’s Favorite Ramadan Soup
- Assidat Zgougou — Tunisia’s Sweetness in a Bowl
- Tunisia’s Octopus Salad: The Best Tunisian Seafood Salad
- Tajine El Bey: Tunisia’s Finest Appetizer
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- Tunisian Breakfast for Champions: “Zamit” with Pomegranate
- Tunisia’s Lentil Soup – Your Favorite Winter Warmer Dish
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