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Monday 7 June 2010

Tunisian Chickpeas

Obviously, I added LOTS more coriander, and so should you. In photography, as in diamonds, less is more, darling, less is more.

Once, a long time ago, I went to Tunisia. It was awful; I hated it.

That may not be the best way into this, but it cannot be helped. I just have to start from where I have to start from and we'll get there eventually.

We had bad weather. The food was horrendous. I mean literally awful, appalling slop. Limp salads, dry cakes. Tacky buffet style dining. But I was on a package holiday, so I expected that. I learned from it too. No more package tours for me.

There was one time, when we took a trip on the train (which was quite the experience, let me tell you) to Tunis, that I thought it would get better. We found this place, I forget the name (trying to forget the whole day actually, we almost got kidnapped. I'm not even lying!), in a little back street, and they gave us the most amazing chickpea stew on a bed of couscous. It was hot with the flavours of harissa, thick with tomato pulp, and you have no idea how much we loved it. I still say we ate badly on the whole though, because even this lovely place went and ruined it by bringing us flan to eat for pudding.

Eaten in the garden, after being staged.

NEVER bring me flan for pudding (I mean the crème caramel-type thing, in case you aren't sure.); it really upsets me. Food with that texture is wrong on so many levels, and I have spent too much of my time on this planet gulping it down politely and trying hard not to be sick. I feel the same way about chawan mushi, but thanks be, they don't eat that in North Africa.

Anyway, I forgot about that stew until today when I made the most amazing, approximated version (meaning not authentic!) of it from the contents of my almost bare cupboards (Mr. P needs to go shopping - you cannot make lunch from chocolate chips and vanilla alone). I don't normally put 'throw togethers' on here (unless you count these), but I'm making this again for sure. It's already helped to ease the painful memories of that foul flan - I followed this with a cherry topped, spiced chocolate cupcake.

I think I might have some more lunch for dinner.

(Disclaimer: I have nothing against Tunisia - I just had a bad experience. I'm going to go back one day. Promise.)

Tunisian Chickpeas

You will need:

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
1 onion
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (mine had herbs in; add some garlic if yours are plain)
1 tsp harissa
fresh coriander

  1. Drain the chickpeas. Chop the onion and fry gently in the oil with the coriander seeds and cumin for about 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas, stir, then add the tomatoes and harissa.
  3. Cook for 5 more minutes, then stir though lots of chopped coriander and garnish with more.
  4. Serve with couscous or rice (if like me, you're all out of the former!).


  1. I love it when stunning food is so easy to prepare. Just love it.

  2. This looks really good, and totally up my alley, I love chickpeas and basically anything with Harissa in it.

    Okay, now I'm going to have to post my Balela recipe soon for you, since I know you like chickpeas :)

  3. Anything with chickpeas in it is basically an instant win with me.

  4. gorgeous and colorful..easy to boot..I love Tunisian food...as of now. Wow. Rhymes don't you think ? :)

  5. I realize that this has nothing whatsoever to do with this dish, but I wasn't sure if you would get this if I commented on the ice cream post. I made a tiramisu flavored ice cream based off of your mascarpone ice cream, and it was to die for. I used a ladyfinger in the bottom and added some dark chocolate chips to the mix. Thank you so much for giving me the courage to give it a go.

  6. Sunshine - It's amazing, isn't it? That the ice-cream is so smooth I mean. Glad you liked it!

    T. - Yeah. You should!

  7. That looks delicious! I love your blog, and I love even more that I found what we're having for dinner. :-)

  8. I made this last night for dinner and it was exquisite. Even my 10-year-old commentedon how sublime it was. I had to make the harissa myself, though - so now I have a ton. Anybody have another recipe that I can use it in? Thanks so much for another fabulous post.


That's what he said.

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