As anyone who has visited Tunisia will testify, one of the country’s more traditional dishes comes in form of the brik. As well as being served in Tunisia, this also happens to be a favorite in Algeria.
It might be deemed a local dish, but it would be fair to say that it becomes hugely popular amongst foreigners as well. It can be described as pastry formed in a triangle, with a filling in the middle. In some ways it is similar to a samosa, although as you’ll soon see there are monumental differences when it comes to the preparation and fillings that are used.
For the purposes of this recipe, we’ll be looking at a brik filled with spicy vegetables including sweet potato, spring onions and various seasonings. It means that is perfect for vegetarians, which goes against a lot of dishes which are native to the country.
The recipe below should serve four people and is regarded as one which isn’t too difficult. The total cooking time is 1h 20m, although you will also require a little longer for it to cool.
What nutritional values does a Tunisian brik have?
Each serving will contain the following:
- Calories: 632
- Fat: 37.1g
- Saturates: 19.6g
- Protein: 12.1g
- Carbohydreates: 64.3g
- Sugar: 12g
- Salt: 1.32g
- Fibre: 4.9g
To make your briks and the salad that you will be having alongside them, you will need the following ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 150 g butter
- 1 large free-range egg (beaten)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1½ tsp. coriander seeds
- 2 dried red chilies
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Black pepper (freshly ground)
- 2 spring onions (trimmed and chopped finely)
- 6 sheets filo pastry
- 1 red onion (sliced)
- 1 bunch fresh watercress
- 1 bunch fresh mint (leaves picked)
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (leaves picked)
- 4 tbsp. fat-free natural yoghurt
- 1 juiced lemon
- 2 lemons (cut in half)
- Ground cumin
- Sea salt
We have broken the Tunisian brik recipe down into the following six stages. This also takes into account the preparation needed for the side-salad that is to be served with it.
- Start by preheating your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Next, start to prepare your sweet potatoes. You should be looking to keep the skins of them on through this process; washing them first before baking them in the preheated oven.
There are no specific guidelines in terms of how long the sweet potatoes should be cooked for. Instead, you should just keep checking on them until they appear to be cooked thoroughly and are soft inside. This tends to vary quite considerably depending on the type of oven you are using.
Once you are satisfied with the above, turn off the oven and leave the door of it open to allow them to cool. Then, proceed to peel the sweet potatoes and mash them up in a bowl.
- After cooking and preparing the sweet potatoes, proceed to bash one teaspoon of the coriander seeds and both of the red chilies in a pestle and mortar. You should then stir this with the cinnamon and add the mixture to the sweet mashed potato. It’s also advisable to season the sweet mashed potato at this point. It’s here which you have a little flexibility; simply use the seasonings that follow your own taste preferences.
Take your trimmed spring onions and beaten egg and fold them both into the mashed potato mixture.
- Next, heat the butter in a pan and wait until it is melted. At the same time, start to bash up any of the coriander seeds that you have not yet used as these will be needed in this step.
Start to brush one of the filo sheets with the melted butter. Collect some of the crushed coriander seeds and a little ground cinnamon before applying it to the filo sheet.
Proceed to cover this first filo sheet with another one, before again applying the butter, coriander and cinnamon. Next, add a third sheet, and continue the above process with the melted butter, coriander seeds and cinnamon.
Now that you have your three filo sheets stacked up, cut them into two squares which are approximately 15cm in size.
At this point you should have used half of your filo sheets. Take the remaining three sheets, and replicate the above process so you have a total of four 15cm squares. However, make sure that you carry out this process as quickly as possible, to stop the pastry from drying out too much.
- By this point you should have your four 15cm squares, as well as the sweet potato mixture.
With each of the four squares spread out, start to place a tablespoon of the sweet potato mixture in the middle of each one. Spread the mixture evenly, before brushing small amounts of water over the edges of the squares.
- This part of the recipe involves folding each square. You should start by taking one edge of the square, before folding it in a triangle to the other corner.
Make sure that you press down on all of the edges to secure the triangles and ensure that the sweet potato mixture stays inside them.
Now that you have all of your triangles, you should take any of the remaining melted butter and start to brush both sides of them.
Place all of the triangles in the preheated oven and leave them in there for approximately ten minutes – or at least until they are a light brown color.
- Finally, it’s all about putting together the salad which will accompany your briks.
Simply mix your red onion, parsley, watercress and mint together and place in a bowl.
Then, take your yoghurt, olive oil, cumin and your pre-prepared lemon juice before pouring over your salad mixture and using as a dressing.
The remaining lemon halves also need to be served alongside your salad and briks. Now all three elements of the recipe are complete, serve your dish accordingly.