We once had an exchange student from Tunisia who stayed with us for far too short of time. I’ll always be grateful to her for introducing Tunisian brik into our home. Technically, I think these are actually called Fingers of Fatima as brik are traditionally triangular and feature a raw egg, but brik is what she called them and that is good enough for me. Plus, it’s easier than explaining who Fatima was and why we are eating her fingers.
The first challenge is to find the brik dough. In Tunisia it is called Malsouka, and in Morocco it is call Warka. What you will find in the United States is the French version Feuille de Brick. I found an import shop in Dallas that supplied me until they closed their retail shop…before they closed I bought out their entire stock. Those living in New York City or Los Angeles can probably find in it in local Arabic food markets. Despite having many Arabic markets in north Dallas, my local supply of Feuille de Brick has vanished, but I can continue to purchase the dough through Amazon.com. Some recipes say you can use spring roll wrappers, but in my opinion they produce inferior results.
My Tunisian exchange student did not leave a recipe behind, so I had to research and experiment on my own. Brik can be filled with a variety of fillings. We like the following recipe and it features tuna, a popular protein in Tunisia. To eat the brik, bite off one end and squeeze on some fresh lemon juice. You may also want to try the brik with some hot harissa, either home-made or store-bought.
My plate is also Tunisian and was made in Sousse.
1 large potato
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
2 6 oz cans Tuna in oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cheese
10 Feuille de Brick pastries
For the filling:
1. Peel and cook the potato until tender, then mash.
2. Heat the olive oil and cook the onion until translucent.
3. Add the potato, eggs, tuna, and parsley, mixing thoroughly.
4. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. When the mixture is heated through, turn off the heat and mix in the cheese.
Making the brik:
1. The brik dough comes dry. I have read to brush the dough with olive oil to make it pliable, but I have found a little water works better.
2. Lay a large spoonful of the filling out about one inch from the near side of the round brik dough. Shape the filling into the length and width of about two fingers.
3. Fold the near side of the dough over the filling leaving a flat side closest to you. Fold over to the inside the two sides of the dough. Pulling the dough towards you to keep the brik tight, roll the brik into the shape of a cigar.
4. Continue until you have rolled all of the brik.
Cook the brik:
1. Set up a cookie rack with a paper towel underneath to catch the oil.
2. Heat a quarter cup of olive oil in a non-stick pan.
3. Place two or three of the brik in the oil, depending on the size of the pan.
4. Once the brik is in the oil, immediately begin to spoon hot oil over the top of each brik.
5. Turn the brik when it is golden brown on the bottom.
6. When brown on all sides, transfer the brik to the cookie rack. Continue until all the brik are cooked.