Sarah Ben Romdane: Lablebi

Sarah Ben Romdane: Lablebi

Sarah Ben Romdane: Lablebi

Featured in Apartamento Cookbook #7: Late-Night Meals along with Faddi Kattan’s recipe: Late-Night Labaneh, and Yemisi Aribisala’s recipe: Alkaki and the Allegory of a Good Marriage.


Lablebi—a Tunisian street-food staple that is halfway between a soup and a stew—is the exact opposite of fancy. It’s the kind of dish that generates a certain amount of suspicion at first glance, but is actually so full-flavoured and hearty, you end up wanting to eat it again and again. With this recipe for Lablebi, I want to share with you the taste of late summer nights in Mahdia, my father’s family town of origin in coastal Tunisia. It is an invitation to some of the memories I cherish the most. I have been spending all my summers in Mahdia since I was born, but now that it is also where I produce my olive oil KAÏA, I have been able to connect with this place I now call home in an even more profound way. Nothing hits the spot like a warm Lablebi after a long evening out. In Mahdia, no celebration (be it a club night or a traditional wedding) is complete without a Lablebi. Based on chickpeas and stale bread, it is served in deep and large bowls and integrates a variety of flavours, textures, and temperatures. You can pick and choose the toppings you want, but purists will get everything and eat it spicy. 



500g chickpeas, soaked overnight then drained 

1.5L cold water

3 tbsp olive oil 

1 lemon

1 tsp baking soda

Salt and pepper

4 eggs 

1 stale baguette, cut into small pieces 

Artisanal harissa



2 jars or tins of tuna fillets

KAÏA olive oil (about 1 tbsp per plate)

METHOD (Serves 4)

In a large pot (the chickpeas will swell, so remember to think bigger), pour the chickpeas into the cold water and add the olive oil, the juice and peel of the lemon, and the baking soda. Cover with a cloth and let soak overnight at room temperature. The next day, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally and replacing any water that evaporates, for about 2 hours until the chickpeas are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring another large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water starts boiling, turn off the heat. Carefully add eggs into the water one at a time and leave them until you are ready to serve (this is how I cook mollet eggs, but you can use another technique). In an individual large bowl, add a handful of bread at the bottom, then pour a ladle or more of the chickpea water with some chickpeas (as much as you’d like). Add the harissa, cumin, capers, salt, and pepper to taste, then the eggs, tuna, and the fragrant olive oil. Mix well and eat it hot.

Apartamento Magazine - Sarah Ben Romdane: Lablebi
Apartamento Magazine - Sarah Ben Romdane: Lablebi
The product is being added to cart!