One of Tunisia’s most famous street foods is Lablabi (also spelled Lablebi). If you’ve been on the streets of Tunisia, I am pretty sure you passed by a couple of small cafeteria joints that serve this wonderful dish. It is popular during the fall and winter months but is served year round.
Lablabi, Your Favorite Tunisian Street Food
Lablebi consists of whole chickpeas cooked in a broth that is poured on top of small pieces of stale bread. The bowl is then garnished with tuna, poached egg, harissa, and red peppers.
When you eat it, you need to mix it all together. Then, you can dig in! The dish is healthy because it is balanced; you’ve got a plant protein, a starchy carb, and a healthy fat which is the olive oil.
To make it healthier, you can use stale whole wheat bread instead of the traditional white bread. It is said that Lablabi was created during a war in Tunisia in which they needed to feed soldiers and citizens a balanced meal with inexpensive and shelf-stable ingredients.
LABLEBI INGREDIENTS: (Serves 5-6)
- 2 cups of frozen or soaked chickpeas
- 2 L of water
- 1 tsp cumin for the broth and more for each individual plate
- 2 tbsp olive oil for the broth and more for each individual plate
- Stale bread (I used whole wheat)
- 5-6 garlic cloves minced (one clove for each bowl)
- 1 heaping tsp harissa for each bowl (or more for extra spiciness)
How to Cook Lablebi
- Put the chickpeas in a pot, cover them in water. Add a little olive oil, salt, and cumin. Set on medium heat and let them cook until the chickpeas are completely tender. This will take at least 1.5 hrs.
- Once the chickpeas are ready, in a small bowl, tear the stale bread in small pieces until the bowl is full. In the meantime, to cook the egg, fill a small saucepan with water and put the egg in it. Once the water starts to simmer, remove the egg and set aside.
- In another bowl, add the chickpea broth and season with one clove of garlic, a squeeze of lemon, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of harissa (or more if you want more spice), 1 tsp of cumin. Mix it all together then pour the sauce on top of the stale bread. Then crack the egg on top of the bowl. Add chunks of tuna and red pepper. Prepare all the other bowls. Serve immediately.
This Lablabi 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.
- The Best Authentic Tunisian Rice Dish — “Rouz Jerbi”
- Tunisia’s Seafood Pasta — A Tunisian Delicacy
- Tunisia’s National Dish: COUSCOUS
- Omek Houria: Tunisian Mashed Carrot Salad
- Tunisian Stuffed Peppers: “Felfel Mehchi”
- The Coziest Vegetable Stew — Tunisia’s Go-To Dish for the Cold Months
- The Best Tunisian Grilled Salad — Salad Mechouia
- Date & Walnut Bread — The Perfect Healthy Dessert
- Kafteji: a Healthy Version of your Favorite Tunisian Dish
- Tunisia’s Traditional Mini Doughnuts: Kaa’k Yoyo
- A Unique Pizza with a Taste of Tunisia: Harissa Infused Veggie Pizza
- Assidat Zgougou — Tunisia’s Sweetness in a Bowl
- Tunisia’s Octopus Salad: The Best Tunisian Seafood Salad
- Tajine El Bey: Tunisia’s Finest Appetizer
- The Traditional, Most Authentic Tunisian Pumpkin Shakshuka
- Tunisian Breakfast for Champions: “Zamit” with Pomegranate
- Tunisia’s Lentil Soup – Your Favorite Winter Warmer Dish
- All Tunisian food recipes.
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