At “Generations,” an event series at Asif hosted in collaboration with our parter the Jewish Food Society, two generations of one family join us for a cooking demonstration and chat about recipes and how they change with time.
In August of 2021, we kicked off the series with a Tunisian aperitif with Asif’s Content Director Matan Choufan and his mother, Brigette Choufan. Inspired by the evening, we’re sharing Brigitte’s recipe for fricassé, a Tunisian sandwich made with fried bread that’s stuffed with harissa, preserved lemon, a pumpkin salad called tirshi, and cured tuna or sardines.
Prepare the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle hook, place the salt, flour, fresh yeast and sugar in this order (the salt should be at the bottom of the bowl and the rest of the ingredients on top) and mix at a low speed to combine. Add the egg and increase the speed slightly. Gradually and while continuously mixing, pour the oil followed by the water. Mix until a dough has formed.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead with your hands 5-10 minutes, to a soft and elastic non-sticky dough.
Shape to a ball and place in a large well-floured bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour (during winter this may take longer).
Punch down the dough on a floured work surface and divide into 20-25 equally sized balls. Roll each ball to a small thick ball, then adjust the edges to create slightly pointed elliptical rolls (like a football). Alternatively, you can keep the dough shaped as balls. Set aside a small piece of the dough to check the oil temperature later on. Place the rolls over a towel, cover with an additional towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
While the dough is rising, heat the oil for deep frying in a pot or a deep pan over medium heat. The oil should be hot but not smoking (if you have a thermometer, the oil should reach 350°F / 180°C).
Brigette’s tip: Add ¼ carrot into the oil before frying. Brigitte believes this helps prevent the oil seeping into the rolls. Slide the small piece of dough set aside earlier into the oil. If the dough immediately floats to the top and bubbles form around it, the oil temperature is just right. If it sinks, the oil is not yet hot enough; if it burns too fast, the oil is too hot and the temperature should be reduced. If the oil is smoking, disposed of it and start over. Try to maintain the oil at a constant temperature throughout frying so that the oil does not burn, nor is it too cold to create a golden crispy crust, resulting in pale soggy rolls. When the oil is burnt, discard and heat new oil (repeat this until all the rolls are fried).
Fry the rolls in batches of 2-3 at a time to ensure the oil temperature doesn’t drop. Fry the rolls 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel.
To serve: Make a slit along the hot rolls. Spread an even layer of tirshi and harissa on the top and bottom of the roll and then fill with cooked potato, hard-boiled egg, olives, fish, and preserved lemon to taste.