Tahboult el-merqa

It’s an omelette, but not as you know it. This classic Kabyle dish combines a spongy semolina omelette with a rich lentil and vegetable sauce for a truly robust and nourishing meal.

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 turnip
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of coriander

For the omelette

  • 8 medium eggs
  • 8 soup spoons of medium semolina
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • Oil for frying

METHOD

For the sauce

  1. Finely chop the onion and sauté in olive oil in a wide pan over a low heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few moments more.
  3. Peel the carrots and the turnip, then slice the carrot and the courgette lengthways and cut the turnip into cubes. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, carrots, courgettes and turnips to the pan. Cover with boiling water and add the paprika and tomato paste.
  4. Simmer until the lentils and vegetables are half cooked. Allow 20 to 30 minutes.

For the omelette

  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, then add the salt, semolina and baking powder.
  2. Stir until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into an oiled frying pan and cook over a gentle heat until golden on the bottom and set on top. Then flip and cook until golden on both sides.
  4. Slice the omelette into four and sit the wedges on top of the vegetable sauce. Continue to cook until the vegetables and lentils are completely tender, stirring from time to time so the sauce doesn’t stick.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with bread.

Always break eggs one at a time into a cup before adding them into the bowl. That way, if the last egg is rotten, you can throw it away without spoiling those you’ve already added.