The Tunisian Octopus Barley Soup “Tchich” is a tomato based soup that has tender pieces of octopus and finished with dried mint. It is usually made in weddings, and a lot in Ramadan. Some use squid instead of the octopus. Regardless, it is really good and worth trying.
Ramadan is here, one of the best months of the year. Ramadan is a blessed month that comes yearly in which Muslims all around the world fast from dawn till sunset. Muslims break their fast with water, and a couple of dates. Then we move on to soup which is perfect because it is warm and easy on the digestive tract.
Tunisian Octopus Barley Soup “Tchich”
Each day Tunisians make different soups and one of the country’s favorite is “Tchich Bel Karnit” – Barley and Octopus soup.
It is a tomato based soup that has tender pieces of octopus, small grains of cracked barley, and finished with dried mint. It is usually made in weddings, and a lot in Ramadan. Some use squid instead of the octopus.
Regardless, it is really good and worth trying. Next time you find some fresh octopus in the fish market, grab some to make this soup. You can also make the Tunisian seafood salad with octopus.
INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)
- 1 small onion (white or red)
- 1 head of octopus or 3 large arms
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- 1.5 tsp chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp coriander & caraway powder
- 2 small cloves
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt & pepper to taste (don’t add to much salt because the octopus is salty by nature)
- 1.5 liters of water
- 4 tbsp of cracked barley (tchich)
- 1 tsp harissa or hrouss
- 1 tsp dried mint
Octopus & Barley Soup RECIPE:
How to Cook the Tunisian Octopus Barley Soup
- Chop the onions and add to a small pot. Add the octopus pieces (cut them into 2 cm thick chunks). Mince and add the garlic to the pot. Add the olive oil, all of the spices, and tomato paste. Put the pot on medium heat and let it cook for about 10 min or until the onions have wilted and the spices become fragrant.
- Add water slowly while mixing. Then when it starts to simmer, add the rest of the water, or until the octopus pieces are submerged well. Let it cook for at least 1 – 1.5 hours.
- One hour later, add the barley and let it cook for antoher 15-20 min.
- Once the barley is cooked, add the harissa/hrous, and the dried mint.
- Turn off the heat and serve.
This Tunisian Octopus Barley soup 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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