Lablabi or Lablaby was one of my favourite winter street foods growing up. It is a popular Iraqi chickpea broth that is commonly sold and enjoyed hot in the winter months. It is sold by cart vendors in the streets of Baghdad and the consumer adds flavorings as they wish such as lemon juice, hot sauce, a good grinding of black pepper, or simply consume it as is. Lablabi is a very warming and satisfying dish that warms the bones and gives strength.
While Lablabi is not very glamorous or fancy, it is delicious. It uses every day, simple ingredients and can be made in less than an hour. It’s comfort food to me, and every bowl of Lablabi reminds me of those family late night gatherings I had growing up. The smell of boiling chickpeas filled the entire house and when Lablabi is fully cooked, my mom would hand each one of us a bowl. We would then drizzle lemon, olive oil, black pepper and dress our Lablabi the way we like. My whole family would sit beside soba (gas burner) and enjoy this snack as we watch our favourite late night show. My siblings and I would compete as to who finishes the bowl of Lablabi faster. It is these little things that I miss the most. This dish is everything my mom is to me — comforting and absolutely incredible. Today, I still prepare and enjoy Lablabi with my family, It never fails to bring back the best of memories.
I think we all agree that food brings people together, but it was my mom that instilled in me a passion and a love for cooking and good food. And whenever I think of good food and my mom’s favorite signature dish, it’s this soup that brings the greatest memories to me. What is it about this simple meal that I fell so hard for? There are minimal ingredients, none of them fancy, and nothing especially extraordinary about this dish. Except that my mom made it, which makes all the difference.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do, all you need is chickpeas, water, salt and a stove. 🙂 Don’t forget to tell me what is your favorite winter street food?
- 1 kilo dried chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon Baking Soda
- 14 cups water
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Lemon to taste
- Olive oil to taste
- Soak the chickpeas in plenty of cold water overnight along with 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas with water a couple of times and place in a large pot.
- Cover with water, place over high heat and bring to a boil (this will take 40 minutes).
- Add salt, lower the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes until chickpeas are softened. Your Chickpeas should look something like this
- Serve warm in individuals bowls with lemon, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper
Notes: top up with more boiling water if needed, avoid adding cold water at this stage it will harden the beans. You can also squeeze two lemons and add ½ tsp turmeric to it and place in a bottle. Drizzle on top of your Lablabi bowl to give it a tangy taste. Also note that you can half the recipe, I made a lot since I usually store the rest in the freezer to make Hummus or Fatteh.