Tunisian Brik

Tunisian Brik is a deep-fried triangular pastry pocket stuffed with a whole egg, some chopped onion, any meat, capers and parsley.  Made traditionally using Malsouka (a thin pastry sheet) but you can use any thin pastry sheet. Usually served as an appetizer but if making at home, this can be your breakfast! 
Tunisian Brik

This month MENA Cooking Club (now non-existent) is travelling to Tunisia and is hosted by my recent love Umm Hamza who blogs at Halal Home CookingWe were given the following options and we can cook one, two or all three of them. 

Appetizer: Brique a l'eouf
Main: Lablabi - chickpea soup
Dessert: Keber El Louz - Almond balls

Somehow I can't bring myself to make soups so the soup didn't really please me. The dessert though seemed easy, I couldn't think of a substitute for the food colours they used in it. The brik/brique was really calling me to make it. Before I left on a short vacation, I did extensive research on brik of Tunisia and bookmarked a few sites and also made a note of things to buy along with my usual groceries. While in Dubai, we went to the Global Village even though with a time crunch, I ensured we checked out the Tunisia house to get the taste of brik. Unfortunately, they did not serve brik, but I did manage to haggle and buy this plate! 😊

Tunisia is a North African country and Tunisian food is a blend of Arabic, Berber, European and Middle Eastern elements.  I am sharing my take on the iconic Tunisian Brique a l'eouf or Brik which is a deep-fried filled pastry. Commonly this dish includes tuna, egg, onions, capers and parsley wrapped in Malsouka (which is the thin pastry sheet used for making the authentic Tunisian Brik).

Every other website I referred had used tinned Tuna but they also stated that any meat can be used. As both F and I are not tuna fans, I opted for minced chicken and spiced it up for our taste buds. This can be made with any thin pastry sheets if Malsouka is not available. Here I have used Lumpia sheets which is similar to Chinese spring roll pastry sheets. You can get creative in jazzing up the filling but onions, egg and parsley seem to be primarily used in all types.

Tunisian Brik

The taste of the brik depends on the stuffing and the pastry and how well it is fried. I made the filling with all of 400 grams of minced chicken, but I did only two briks as it has one whole egg in each which should suffice as a meal. The leftover filling was made into spring rolls. 

Most referred and adapted from this video

TUNISIAN BRIK RECIPE

The stuffing recipe will make for more than 2 briks. I made only 2 and the rest of the filling went into 4 spring rolls. You can make up to 6 brik using this recipe. 

INGREDIENTS

For the filling mixture:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 400gms minced chicken or meat
  • a few capers, around 8 to 10 (optional)
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Other filling items to assemble the brik:
  • 2 to 4 cheese slices (optional, highly recommended)
  • 2 to 6 eggs 
For the brik:
  • Oil to fry in a pan big enough to fit the whole brik
  • 2 to 6 thawed thin pastry sheets like filo (malsouka)

METHOD

Thaw the pastry sheets:
  1. Thaw the pastry sheet as per packet instructions and remove as many sheets you want and pack the rest back to the freezer. Cover and keep the sheets until needed.
Prepare the filling mixture:
  1. Heat olive oil in a shallow pan and add the chopped onions, garlic cloves and green chillies. Saute until the onions are translucent. 
  2. Add the ground chicken or meat and cook on high while breaking any lumps. Cook until the chicken is done. Switch off and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Stir in some capers and freshly chopped parsley. Sprinkle sumac and squeeze in some lemon juice. Do a taste test and let the stuffing mixture cool before you start assembling.
Assemble the brik:
Once stuffed, there cannot be any delay in sliding the brik into the hot oil. Any delay will make the pastry sheet soggy and it will be a mess. 
  1. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan.
  2. Mound the stuffing in the centre of the pastry sheet and make a well in the middle to add the egg. Just crack open an egg into that space. 
  3. Tear the cheese slices into small pieces and place a few pieces of cheese over the filling.
Fry the brik:
  1. Hold one corner/end of the pastry and join the other corner and quickly and gently slide it into the hot oil. 
  2. Use a spoon to press and seal the sides of the brik. Scoop some oil onto the top of the brik. Fry until the sides start to turn golden. 
  3. Use two slotted spoons or a tong and turn the brik to fry the other side. The brik gets done in less than a minute as ideally Tunisian Brik has runny egg. But, if you want the egg well done, then fry it for few more seconds and then remove it.
  4. Remove from oil and leave on a kitchen tissue to drain the excess oil. Serve hot.
Note: If you are using shredded cheese, then mix the cheese into the filling just before you start assembling. I had only cheese slices and wanted to ensure each brik had a good share of cheese, so made it an effort to tear and place them.

I must share what I found all over the internet about a Tunisian Tradition on Brik: "The Tunisian tradition is that the bride-to-be's mother makes a brik for the potential bridegroom. If the bridegroom eats it without spilling the egg yolk, he may marry the bride." I tweaked this a little bit and narrated to F that a good daughter-in-law makes a runny egg brik! :-D 

Tunisian Brik

Though this is an appetizer, we had it for late lunch on a Saturday followed with a couple of spring rolls too :-P This is one dish I am sure I will be making again especially during weekends for breakfast! 

TRIED THIS RECIPE? 

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe, share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!

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