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1/2 pound of dried chickpeas*
Optionally a pinch of baking soda, if you prefer softer chickpeas
6 cups of water
3 Tbsp capers (either brined or rinsed salt-packed)
Lemon juice or vinegar
Salt, to taste
Optionally, harissa, or more Izak N37, finely ground
Stale bread or breadcrumbs
Eggs (1-2 per person)
Olives (green or black or both)
Olive oil canned tuna
Chopped Tunisian Preserved Lemon
Fried merguez sausage (not traditional)
In a pressure cooker add the chickpeas, baking soda (if using), water, Izak, cumin/sajira, and caraway. Bring to pressure and cook for 45 minutes with a natural release. If you don't have a pressure cooker soak the chickpeas overnight, then cook them the next day by bringing to a boil, skimming any foam, then simmering (it should take about an hour of total cooking time). If you soaked chickpeas and are pressure cooking them it should take only about 15 minutes with a natural release.
Add the capers, stir well, and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and add either lemon juice or vinegar, plus as much salt as you like. You can at this point add additional Izak, or harissa paste if you prefer more heat.
Add a slice of stale bread or a handful of breadcrumbs to the bottom of 4 bowls. Ladle out most of the chickpeas, dividing between the bowls.
Poach eggs in the remaining broth, 1-2 per person, maintaining a steady simmer. The chickpeas remaining in the pot will keep them from sticking to the bottom. For a cleaner presentation you can also poach the eggs separately, or fry them over easy.
Once the egg whites are set, gently remove them to each bowl, divide the hot broth evenly, and garnish as you like. A splash of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon are a must, but everything else (even the egg if you are vegan), is optional, though highly recommended. Plate any additions on top of the soup and mix them in, or not, as you prefer.
* If you'd like to use canned chickpeas first make sure to get a great brand. Boil 3 cups of water with the spices, simmer for 10 minutes, then add two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (do not drain, the liquid is essential for both flavor and texture) and bring to a low boil again. Once the chickpeas are warmed through you can proceed with the recipe.
‡ I like a mix of sweet and hot peppers. Pictured are some pickled jalapeños and biquinho peppers.
• Flavor boosts:
- Try adding a bit of our D'vora blend for a flavor more reminiscent of falafel. This is an especially good idea if you are keeping the soup vegan.
- Add a piece of kombu when cooking the chickpeas (this works best with time to soak). The enzymes will make the beans more digestible and the free glutamate will add savory notes.
- Use the olive oil from Lior's Tunisian Preserved Lemons instead of regular olive oil.
• For a textural change you can stir the egg into the broth, creating whispy strands like in egg drop soup. I like something with a bit of crunch in this version as well, like chopped water chestnuts tossed with Shabazi N.38 and a bit of lemon juice.
Recipe and photos © Christian Leue
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