I’d waited seven years to taste the real deal again, during which time I made many attempts to replicate, imitate, reconstruct. Sometimes I came up longer than short, but it was never quite right.
Lablebi, oh miracle dish of Tunisia, comforting stew of myriad spices. Cheap, quick, filling, and perfect for a cold and blustery winter day in the capital city of Tunis.
Guided in my culinary endeavors by good friend (and veteran edibles guide) Zied, we aimed to be Champions of Lablebi, consuming full portions of this hearty, filling stew.
We started with the requisite bowls of bread,
tearing the chunks into smaller pieces, or crumbs, depending on personal preference (the smaller the pieces, the thicker the resulting stew, or so say the Experts).
Bowls properly filled with bread crumbs, we handed them over to the Professionals Behind the Counter, who ladled steaming chickpea stew into each.
They topped each bowl with mounds of spices: cumin, harissa, and others that should probably remain the secrets of Those Who Know. And then a few adroit tosses; just enough, not too much.
And the important addition of an egg, to thicken the stew and add a seductive sheen.
Some request tuna, a hearty addition that renders this lablebi meal a feast.
And then it’s back to you, dear epicure:
to stir, blend, mix, fuse, maximize the flavor in each bite.
It’s the stew of your dreams, a goulash, a mishmash, a mélange to beat them all.