Ruth Oliver's Fricasee buns. Photography: Dan Lev; Styling: Talia Gon Assif
Ruth Oliver's Fricasee buns. Photography: Dan Lev; Styling: Talia Gon Assif
Recipe

Fricasee Buns

The cornerstone of this staple dish from Tunisian cuisine are these golden, fried and airy Fricasee buns

Forget the sad Tunisian sandwich you might have seen sold in chain restaurants or convenience stores – this fricasee is the real thing: a delightful sandwich packed to nearly bursting with Mechouia salad (a North African salad made with hot peppers, tomato and garlic), potatoes, tuna in olive oil, hard boiled egg, capers, olives, pickled lemons, and harissa.

The key to fricasee lies in the bun – traditionally these sandwiches are served in freshly fried buns, which are really more akin to savory donuts – crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside.

Ingredients for Fricasee Buns

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kilogram) all-purpose flour
  • 1.7 oz (50 grams) fresh yeast
  • 2 cup (480 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • oil of choice for frying

Instructions

  • 1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment for half a minute. Add water while kneading and mix at low speed for about 10 minutes until you get a pliable and elastic dough.

  • 2. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about half an hour until doubled in volume.  

  • 3. Divide the dough into 15 equal portions and make boat-shaped buns. Place on a floured surface, cover and let rise for about half an hour until doubled in volume.

  • 4. Heat oil for deep frying in a pot (for an electric frying pan: 350F/180C degrees). Carefully put a few buns into the oil, with the upper, puffed side face down in the oil (so that the unrisen side will do so from the heat) and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the dough.  

  • 5. Cool a little and serve with the sandwich components.

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If you’re keeping an eye on calories, know that you need not fry the buns. You can also bake them for about 15 minutes in an 355F (180C) degree oven until golden.

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