Tunisian Brik, a deep-fried pastry pocket stuffed with minced meat and egg. Made traditionally using Malsouka (a thin pastry sheet) but you can use any thin pastry sheet. Usually served as an appetizer but if made at home, this can be your breakfast!
This month's MENA Cooking Club (now non-existent) challenge country is Tunisia. Hosted by my recent favourite Umm Hamza who blogs at Halal Home Cooking!
We were given the following options to try:
- Appetizer: Brique a l'eouf
- Main: Lablabi - chickpea soup
- Dessert: Keber El Louz - Almond balls
The brik aka brique was calling me to make it. Before I left on a short vacation to Dubai, I researched and made notes about the brik of Tunisia. I also made a list of things to buy to make them. While in Dubai, we went to the Global Village and checked out the Tunisia pavilion 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, a deep-fried filled pastry. Traditionally, a Tunisian Brik has tuna, egg, onions, capers and parsley wrapped in Malsouka, a thin pastry sheet used for making the authentic Tunisian Brik.
As F is not a tuna fan, I opted for minced chicken and spiced it up for our taste buds. You can use any thin pastry sheets if Malsouka is unavailable. Here I have used Lumpia sheets which are similar to Chinese spring roll pastry sheets. Try not to skip onion, egg and parsley as they give it an authentic flavour.
The taste of the brik depends on the stuffing and the pastry and how well it is fried. I made the filling with all 400 grams of minced chicken, but I did only two bricks as it has one whole egg in each which should suffice as a meal. The leftover filling was made into spring rolls.
I must share what I found all over the internet about a Tunisian Tradition of 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! 😀
Though this is an appetizer, we had it for late lunch on a Saturday followed by a couple of spring rolls too 😛 I am sure I will be making this one dish again, especially during weekends for breakfast!
For the filling mixture
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced finely
- 2 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
- 2 green chillies chopped finely
- 400 grams minced chicken or meat
- a few capers around 8 to 10 (optional)
- fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon sumac optional
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice to taste
- 2 to 4 cheese slice optional, highly recommended
- 2 to 6 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the brik
- Oil to pan fry use a pan big enough to fit the whole brik
- 2 to 6 thawed thin pastry sheets malsouka, filo, etc.
Thaw the pastry sheets
- Thaw the pastry sheet as per packet instructions and remove as many sheets as you want and pack the rest back into the freezer. Cover and keep the sheets until needed.
Prepare the filling
- Heat olive oil in a shallow pan and add the chopped onions, garlic cloves and green chillies. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- 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.
- 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.
- Heat oil in a shallow frying pan.
- 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.
- Tear the cheese slices into small pieces and place a few pieces of cheese over the filling.
Fry the brik
- Hold one corner/end of the pastry and join the other corner and quickly and gently slide it into the hot oil.
- 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.
- 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 a few more seconds and then remove it.
- Remove from oil and leave on a kitchen tissue to drain the excess oil. Serve hot.