Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#96 Tunisia's Leb Lebi

This soup is so simple and delicious, it's healthy because it's low in fat yet high in protein. Leb Lebi is a clear soup made with onion, garlic, garbanzo beans, herbs and spices. It has a nice flavor that comes from the mix of the beans, caraway seeds and cumin. I was introduced to caraway seeds was when I first made Goulash, and I immediately noticed the seeds' pungent taste. I did not expect that the same taste can add a wonderful flavor to a clear soup. In Tunisia where this dish originated, they eat this soup for breakfast, and I did too the following morning. Healthy, inexpensive, for under $2 we made a wonderful dish.

Yield: Serves 4



1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

  1. Dump the chickpeas into a colander. Rinse and drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the caraway seeds and cumin. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the chickpeas, broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer until the chickpeas are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Using the back of the spoon, crush some of the chickpeas against the side of the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm in bowls.
Recipe adapted from Abigail Johnson Dodge.

We learned that Tunisia is the smallest country in North Africa, it is situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Tunisian cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean,  of their neighbors' in the desert and of the influences left by their conquerors. Most of their dishes are spicy. An interesting old wives' tale made me giggle. It is said that in Tunisia, the more hot peppers the wife puts in the food, the more affection the husband feels. When the food turns bland, it means the wife does not love the husband anymore. I wonder how many hot peppers the wife puts in the food when they have a lovers' quarrel?! :)

We love Leb Lebi!

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