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Jan 28, 2007 08:30 PM

Tunisian Chickpea breakfast dish

In a recent episode of the travel show aired on public television (alternative stations in the PBS network?) "Globetrekker" featuring unusual and favorite foods from around the world, one of the guides while in Tunisia had a chickpea soup for breakfast called "Leblebi" or something like that.

It consisted of boiled chickpeas, and once spooned into a bowl, was topped with chili sauce, cumin powder, salt, oil, a raw egg, small bits of what looked like canned tuna, and capers. Is this dish for real?

Does the heat from the cooked chickpeas cook the egg? The combination of ingredients caught me off guard. Does this combination really work? Has anyone ever made this dish?

I can't imagine raw eggs mixed into the hot chick peas a good combination.
Is there some other version of this dish without the tuna and the eggs? Is this version unique to Tunisias taste?

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  1. i eat eggs with spicy beans all the time. add them, scramble a bit, and let the heat from the beans finish the eggs. eggs, tuna and capers are all in nicoise salad, so i don't know quite what you find so odd here.

    1. I saw that show too. I looked like they added a partially cooked egg.

      2 Replies
      1. re: knuckles

        Interesting observation. What I noticed from the camera work, was that everything other than the chickpeas which were scooped out of a huge pot of boiling liquid, was in its own small bowl from which the dish was assembled. When it came time to add the eggs, an uncracked egg was removed from its brethren and cracked and the resulting yolk and white fell into the chickpeas. Unless one knows the assembly and preparation of this dish, there was no way to tell (that I can think of) that these eggs were partially cooked, but that would make sense. I didn't know that raw eggs could be cooked so quickly just from the heat of chickpeas.

        The mixture of this dish that seemed odd, wasn't a bean plus egg mixture, but the choice of chick peas plus eggs. I just think of the taste of chick peas different from that of other beans, but perhaps with the addition of the cumin and the chili sauce, the chick peas would take on a different taste. I hadn't thought of chick peas and tuna fish as pairable foods, but perhaps that combination just takes getting used to!

        1. re: FelafelBoy

          in college, the dining hall prepared foods were so awful that i ended up eating tuna mixed with chickpeas several times a week! where was all that room and board money going, anyway? In any case, back to the topic actually at hand, i've had lablabi before, at the home of a friend who did field work in Tunisia, and all the flavors and foods do add up really yummily.

      2. Over one year later, I heard this dish discussed on a radio food program. The dish is called, "Lablabi," and is a Tunisian chickpea soup.

        3 Replies
        1. re: FelafelBoy

          It sounds REALLY good. Have you tried it yet?

          1. re: FelafelBoy

            never had that soup, but on the chickpea and tuna front, i sometimes sub chickpeas for the white beans in a tuscan-style tuna and bean salad and it tastes great. so chickpeas and tuna can go together.

            i think the soup sounds delicious!

            1. re: FelafelBoy

              It's on the menu at Cafe Zitouna in San Francisco, spelled lablaby there. Haven't been in early enough to order it before it runs out in the morning.

              (the cafe is currently closed until Ramadan ends


              Cafe Zitouna
              1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            2. Here's a recipe link I found:

              If you're squeamish about the raw egg, just coddle it on top of the simmering garbanzos. The above recipe uses hard boiled, so I think it's about personal preference.

              The ingredients combo reminds me a bit of Italian tuna and bean salad.

              1. i love cracking a raw egg into a big steaming bowl of ramen.

                it doesn't cook to what you would be used to, but it adds an amazing richness.

                at least in asia, it's commonplace to eat raw egg.
                i guess salmonella doesn't exist over there..................