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Traditional toppings for lablabi include an egg (either poached or fried) and some capers.
It doesn’t usually include tomatoes, so if you’re not a fan, feel free to omit them (instead, add a large squeeze of lemon for acidity). However, since I enjoy tomato-based stews and the color is much more appealing, I chose to incorporate a tiny amount of them to give this meal more body.
To suit my particular palate, I also made a small deviation by adding a dash of smoky paprika and an additional dash of chilli.
30 ml/2 tbsp oil (I used olive oil) 1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used red). 5 garlic cloves, chopped finely Ground coriander, 2 teaspoons 3 teaspoons cumin powder 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika 4 teaspoons harissa paste 3 medium, ripe tomatoes and 400 g/1/4 oz of chopped tomatoes 500 milliliters or two cups chickpea brine or aquafaba* one cube of vegetable (vegan) stock pepper, to taste 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste 1/2 tsp hot chilli flakes, taste, and adjust 2 teaspoons of brown sugar (optional) 800 g or 28 ounces of canned chickpeas, or around 3 cups of cooked chickpeas. chopped fresh coriander, cashew cream, optional (recipe here) preferred bread, to be served METHOD
In a saucepan with a thick bottom, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion and cook it slowly over low heat for approximately 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it almost becomes translucent. Embrace minced garlic. Gently continue to cook the food until the onion is transparent and the garlic is totally cooked and has released its lovely perfume (approx. 5 minutes).
Mix in the onion-garlic combination with all of the ground spices. They tend to burn easily, so fry them off slowly for a minute or two while swirling constantly.
The onion and garlic combination should be mixed with harissa paste.
Salt, stock cube, diced tomatoes, and chickpea brine should all be added to the pan. For the stew to thicken and the extra liquid to be absorbed, simmer for 15 to 25 minutes. To get the appropriate thickness, adjust the simmering time. Every so often, give the stew a thorough toss.
After the sauce has thickened, season it to taste with a lot of black pepper, additional salt if needed, chilli flakes (if your harissa is fairly mild), and sugar if you think the dish is too acidic.
Then add the cooked chickpeas and stir to combine. Serve with fresh or toasted bread, garnished with chopped coriander, and if desired, a dollop of cashew cream.
NOTES *Chickpea brine, also known as aquafaba or chickpea water, is traditionally used for this soup; however, using water will result in a thinner soup, especially if you choose to omit the chopped tomatoes. If you happen to have an open bottle of wine sitting about, feel free to replace part of the liquid with a glass of red wine as well. It might seem out of the ordinary, but I can assure you that it will taste great!