Tunisian Brik a l’oeuf
In Tunisia, it’s made with hand-crafted malsouka dough. Instead of it you may use phyllo sheets, because they are flaky and easy to find. Tunisian brik is usually shaped like a triangle and formed around a raw egg. In addition to an egg, brik can sometimes contain other fillings such as canned tuna, boiled potatoes, capers, and parsley. This recipe is for simple brik a l’oeuf (brik with egg). If you prepared the ingredients ahead of time, brik can be cooked in less than 2 minutes.
This recipe makes 4 briks
12 phyllo sheets (3 sheets for each brik)
4 whole eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
1 lemon, cut in wedges
4-5 tablespoons of fresh cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
Harissa* served on the side
Preparing the phyllo dough:
Be sure to keep the phyllo from drying out. I usually put damp towels on my counter under and over the phyllo, and each time I remove phyllo sheets to make brik, I cover the remaining phyllo immediately.
In order for the process and the recipe to be successful, you’ll
need to prepare all of the fillings and ingredients ahead of time.
Getting organized in advance will help you to stuff and fry the brik quickly one at a time when the oil is hot.
Have some paper towels or clean newspaper ready on which to place the hot brik and absorb any excess oil.
To make a good brik, you’ll need to do two things simultaneously:
(a) keep the oil hot
(b) fold the phyllo and add fillings very quickly to keep the dough from drying out
Place a large skillet over medium heat, and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet about ½ inch deep.
Take 3 phyllo dough sheets together and form a square.
Since the phyllo usually comes in rectangles, you may need to fold the ends on two sides to make the square.
Place the phyllo square on a plate and crack an egg into the center of the square.
Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper, then fold two ends of this square to make a triangle.
Gently slide brik into the skillet trying not to splash the oil. Stay close to the skillet because it is going to take less than a minute for the bottom of the brik to cook.
As soon as the bottom begins to turn golden, turn the brik over gently with two large spatulas to cook the other side.
The second side will also cook in less than a minute.
When both sides are golden, gently lift the brik from the hot oil. Let the oil drain back in the skillet, and transfer the cooked brik to a platter with paper towels or clean newspaper to drain any excess oil.
Let brik rest about one minute before transferring to a serving plate.
Repeat process until all brik are cooked.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice and sprinkle cilantro on top of each.
Serve with fresh harissa.
NB: How to eat a Brik a l’oeuf without making a mess of yourself:
The trick is to hold the brik over your plate (not over your shirt) with one point facing upwards. Bite into it without letting the egg run down your chin.
* Harissa is a Maghrebi hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, saffron, rose, or caraway, as well as some vegetable or olive oil for preservation. It is most used in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco.