I’ve written elsewhere about the difficulties I have with breakfast. Simply put, food before 11am makes me nauseous. There have been exceptions to this. The buffet at the International Garden Hotel in Narita, Japan, was so exciting I grazed for two whole hours. Miso soup is just good at any time of day. And I am fond of cold pizza, or, when in Thailand or China, congee with the works. Roald Dahl recommends half a papaya melon with a whole lime squeezed over it, and so do I.
Perhaps I do like breakfast. I just don’t like normal things for breakfast.
Today, I remembered a non-normal thing for breakfast I first made six years ago and then forgot about: lablabi, a kind of chicken soup with chickpeas and spices, which I read about in The Age (Australia’s only serious newspaper). The author described people lining up to consume bowls of this dish first thing in the morning at Moroccan markets. I duly made it, and it was indeed fine. I even used real homemade chicken stock, which improves anything.
The problem is, upon consulting that oracle of all truth, wikipedia, I learned that lablabi is not Moroccan. It’s not even from an adjacent country. It’s Tunisian, and it isn’t served for breakfast, but for dinner. There are two possible explanations for this. Either Moroccans like to eat Tunisian dinner dishes for breakfast, or the author was bullshitting, as food writers do. Can someone who has actually visited either of these two countries give me a ruling on this?
In the meantime, this is a kickass breakfast.
3 cups chicken stock (homemade is ideal)
1 can of chickpeas
1 Tb harissa (a Tunisian chili paste, available as a powder in the West)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
Two large slices of sourdough bread
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 Tb chopped capers (absolutely essential)
2 soft-boiled eggs
Olive oil (fine and interesting quality, please)
Simmer stock, chickpeas, harissa, cumin, and salt for 15 minutes. Tear up the bread into chunks. Place the bread, the herbs, and the capers into two soup bowls.
Scoop an egg from its shell into each bowl, then ladle soup over and drizzle with olive oil.
It occurs to me that if you substituted vegetable stock, you would have my first vegetarian recipe! Unless you consider eggs to be meat, that is. Hmm.