Lablabi ~ Chickpeas Soup from Tunisia
Lablabi or lablebi is a Tunisian chickpeas soup. It is a thin soup flavored with garlic, cumin powder, harissa and served with stale bread and poached egg. Lablabi is a popular street food and a common breakfast in Tunisia. It can easily be made at home with various garnishes and accompaniments. On the streets, hot cooked chickpeas broth is poured over stale crusty bread, seasoned with garlic, cumin, harissa, olive oil and topped with raw or coddled egg. When everything is mixed together, egg is cooked or poached in hot broth.
I made it slightly different to the common street preparation. I sauteed onion & garlic in some olive oil and poured it over cooked chickpeas broth, seasoned with harissa, cumin and simmered for few minutes. I did not have bread at home that day and served it with fried egg. I meant to prepare it during the day and ended up making it for dinner and served with rice. It was bit watery and bland when served with rice. After dinner, I was unsure if I wanted to post the recipe. That evening it was cloudy and I could not even capture decent pictures. When putting away the leftovers, I eat some of the lablabi and I loved the flavor of the broth/soup. If serving with rice, lablabi needs to be spiced up a bit more and can be thickened a bit by mashing the chickpeas. However, I will be serving it as a soup than as a side dish for rice. I took a picture the next morning with leftover lablabi, though it was cloudy. I will be to making this spicy soup very often this Fall. I love chickpeas and now I have a delicious soup to prepare with this humble legume!
- ½ cup dry Chickpeas
- 2 cup Water
- 1 ½ – 3 tsp. Garlic, minced
- 1 Bay Leaf
- ¾ – 1 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 ½ – 3 tsp. Oil
- ½ small Onion, chopped approx. ¼ – ⅓ cup chopped Onion
- ¼ – ½ tsp. Cumin Powder (I used roasted cumin powder but would recommend un-roasted cumin powder)
- 1 ½ – 2 tsp Harissa
- 1 Fried Egg
- Wash and soak dry chickpeas overnight or at least 8 hours. I wanted to make this for breakfast and ended up making it for dinner. My chickpeas were soaked for almost 18 hours.
- Change water, wash chickpeas once or twice, transfer to a pressure cooker and add 1 ½ cups of water. Also add ½ tsp. minced garlic, bay leaf and ½ tsp. of salt to chickpeas.
- Cook chickpeas for 4 whistles or until chickpeas are tender. Chickpeas should not be mushy and should hold it’s shape. If cooking on stove top, it would take at least 30 – 40 minutes. I have not cooked chickpeas on stovetop and the time mentioned is approximate time required to cook the peas.
- Let the pressure cooker cool naturally before opening the lid.
- Meantime, take oil in a saucepan and saute onion until light brown. This should take about 5 minutes. I used 3 tsp. of oil and felt I could have used less.
- Once the onions are brown, add garlic and continue to saute for another minute or two on low medium flame.
- Once the pressure from the cooker releases naturally and is ready to open, open the lid, transfer chickpeas to saucepan and give it a good stir.
- Add harissa, cumin powder, additional ¼ – ½ tsp of salt and ½ cup of water, if required.
- Bring lablabi to boil and simmer on medium to medium low flame until flavors are infused into chickpeas, about 8 – 10 minutes. If required mash few chickpeas to get a thick soup like consistency. Do not mash too many chickpeas, just 4-5 chickpeas should do. This soup is suppose to be thin, at least from the pictures I have seen online.
- Serve lablabi with some stale bread, poached or raw egg or a fried egg. Additional accompaniments for lablabi are capers, chopped tomatoes or sundried tomatoes, olive oil, lemon or lime juice.
- How to serve lablabi – in bowl place pieces of stale crusty bread, pour hot lablabi and drop poached / fried / raw egg. Mix everything and dig in. If one wishes, they can add some chopped parsley, dollop of labneh or greek yogurt, drizzle of olive oil if required, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice or lime juice to name a few.