In the bygone era, Africa was once the epicenter of trade with rich in resources and playing a vital trade route for millennia. Tunisia was the jewel of the region, sandwiched between Algeria and Libya, and at the doorstep of the Mediterranean coast. The influx of not just traders but also conquering armies had a tremendous impact on the culture and tradition from across the region, making Tunisia a melting pot of rich and diverse culture which made it an attraction for tourists and visitors. This can be seen in their cuisine which have had a heavy influence from the Meditrinanan region and the French, making recipes for tunisian food very unique in its own right.
As you walk through the streets of Tunisia, you’ll encounter vendors selling olive oil.Tunisia is at number 4th in supplying Olive oil to the world, so the next time you see a bottled Olive Oil with Tunisian label on it, you ought to believe it. Tunisian olive oil is considered the best in the World and it’s sent to a different part of the world for packaging.
Tunisian Cuisine is typically known for its level of spice and use of Olive Oil. There’s this Tunisian proverb that says “A man can judge his wife’s affection by the number of chilies in her cooking”. That’s one of the reason you’ll find Olive Oil in almost every tunisian recipe. Tunisians take their bread very seriously and you’ll be served bread with almost every meal and sometimes free of cost as well. They even use their bread instead of cutlery at times.
Bordering the Mediterranean, seafood is readily available and plays an important role in their menu. Tunisian recipes includes vegetables, legumes, spices, herbs, and of course olive oil. Lamb is often preferred over other meat. They don’t overcook their vegetables and leave it a bit crunchy.
Chickpea, sometimes also known as garbanzo bean, is a rich source of protein. The origin of Chickpeas are Mediterranean and Middle East countries. They use chickpeas to make hummus which is a staple in their diet.
To give this recipe a unique flavor, we’re adding harissa paste to make it a palate-pleasing delight. But if you’re not a spice lover or as adventurous you can skip that part.
Tunisian Chickpea Salad
- 135 gm Dried Chickpeas Soaked Overnight
- 54 gm Onion Roughly Chopped
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1.5 gm Salt
- 30 ml Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 190 gm Red Pepper
- 25 gm Capers Rinsed with cold water
- 120 ml Harissa Vinaigrette
- 60 gm Kalamata Olives
- 8 Poached Eggs
- 3.5 gm Chopped Cilantro
- 1 Loaf Ciabatta Cut into 1” inch thick slices (8 Slices)
- Harissa Vinaigrette
- Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas and place them in a medium saucepan, and cover with fresh cold water. Place the onion, bay leaves, and garlic in cheesecloth to make a sachet; add to the chickpeas, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cheesecloth will make it easy to remove the spices and onion. If you do not have a cheese cloth you can add onion, bay leaves, and garlic directly into cold water and scoop it out later
- Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until the chickpeas are tender, 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours. After a 1 ½ hour mark check the doneness of the chickpeas, the texture should be al dente with a slight crunch to it and not very hard. If it does not cook additional minutes till the desired texture is obtained
- Once done drain the chickpeas and remove the sachet, and transfer the chickpeas into a bowl and let it cool
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, peppers roasted pepper, capers, and vinaigrette. Add to the chickpeas and toss well to coat. Add the olives, and cilantro, and toss to combine
- Heat a skillet at a medium heat. In the meanwhile lightly drizzle some olive oil approximately ½ tsp on the ciabatta slices and set them aside. Once the skillet is hot, toast the ciabatta slices over the skillet till they are lightly brown
- Now it's time to assemble, place two slices of toasted ciabatta on the center of the plate and place two to three tablespoon of the salad on top of bread. Then gently place a warm poached egg on each of the bread slices
- To garnish, drizzle the egg with some additional harissa vinaigrette, salt and cracked black pepper. If you like you can add in some tossed rocket leaves with harissa vinaigrette on the side. Serve immediately