Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Gluten Free Tunisian Fricassee Sandwich Recipe -- Vegan Option

My sister in law, Sarah, is Tunisian, and one day, as a newly wed, she posted pictures excitedly on our family Whatsapp group that she made fricassee, along with pictures. "What is that?" I asked, and she said "You know, fricassee!" Well, no, I didn't know, because the fricassee I had heard about is a french chicken stew type thing, and it looked nothing like what Sarah had made.

Well, fricassee has another meaning, Tunisian in origin, and I have no idea where its name comes from. Its a fried bread sandwich, filled with a variety of different items, from tuna to potatoes to pickled lemons, and more.

I never was able to taste Sarah's fricassee because I don't eat gluten, but after I successfully made gluten free sfinge, I decided to give fricassee a try, using my sfinge recipe as a base for the fried bread.

When it comes to fillings, I looked in various Facebook groups to find out what authentically goes in fricassee, and there were so many debates about what goes in an "authentic" fricassee. According to my brother, Sarah fills her fricassee with tuna (no mayo), potatoes, sliced eggs, pickled lemons, pickles, olives, and harissa (Tunisian hot sauce), but according to another person, "Traditional fricassee never has pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, and it does have mayo."

Basically, I don't think there is one defined official way, but I'll just list all the fillings I've heard can go in fricassee:

Gluten Free Tunisian Fricassee Sandwich Recipe -- Vegan Option

Common fillings:
Tuna (I put in mayo because I don't like tuna without mayo)
Sliced or cubed boiled potatoes
Sliced hard-boiled eggs
Pickled lemons
Harissa (Tunisian hot sauce)
Cucumbers/tomatoes/red peppers (in a salad with garlic or plain)

And then the less traditional (maybe?) but still done:
Amba sauce
Tahini sauce

The way fricassee is served is everyone is given the bread, and the fillings are all put out, and people can take whichever fillings they want.

I did tuna with egg free mayo, cubed potatoes, homemade harissa (this time made "properly" with red peppers), an unseasoned cucumber/tomato/red pepper salad, olives, and quick pickled lemons that I put in the blender instead of chopping, and honestly I like it better this way.

If you want to keep yours vegan, either leave out the tuna, or replace it with this vegan chickpea tuna salad.

The recipe for my gluten free fricassee buns is below, but first I wanted to say the verdict:

It is amazing! This combination for a sandwich is so random (boiled potatoes?!?!?) but the result is out of this world. I definitely see why it is so popular and my sister in law was so excited to make it.

Oh, and if you want to reduce the oil or skip that extra bit of work, apparently people make this in regular buns instead of fried bread, but it won't be as special.

Here's how I made my fricassee gluten free vegan bread.

Tunisian Fried Fricassee Rolls Recipe

1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil for frying

1. Mix the yeast with the sugar and water until dissolved.

2. Whisk in the xanthan gum until dissolved.

3. Add the rice flour, potato starch, and salt. Mix until uniform. This will be a very loose dough.

4. Let rise for a few hours or overnight.

5. Cut a piece of parchment paper into small rectangles.

6. With very wet hands, shape the dough into oval shapes with slightly pointy ends and place them on the parchment paper, one on each piece. This recipe should make 5 rolls.

7. Heat up your oil until very hot. Drop a tiny piece of dough into the oil to see if it rises to the top sizzling, ensuring that the oil is hot enough.

8. Carefully drop two or three parchment papers with dough into the oil, not on top of each other. They will start frying, and after about 30 seconds, they can be flipped over and the parchment paper removed.

9. Keep turning over every few minutes until they are completely golden brown, then remove from the oil and strain/put on napkins to collect the grease.

10. Do the same with the rest of the buns.

11. Let sit for a few minutes to cool off a bit and let the starch solidify a bit.

12. Slice open lengthwise with a sharp knife. See how its crispy on the outside and soft, fluffy, and airy on the inside?

13. Fill with your fillings of choice and devour!


Note: Fricassee is best eaten fresh, but if you have some buns leftover, pop them in a hot oven for a few minutes to re-crisp and be great again.

Have you ever had Tunisian fricassee? What do you put in yours? If not, have you heard of it before? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?


  1. This sounds like a great new recipe. Happy New Year.

  2. Being married to a Tunisian (and living in Tunisia), i'm quite familiar with a lot of both the traditional and less traditional recipes, but still it's nice to read some recipes in English! As most recipes are in French (or of course Arabic). This inspires me to (some make my own fricassee instead of buying it!
    Btw if using a regular bun (or as they use here, a baguette) it's called a cassecroute.

  3. I've never heard about the fricassee but will give it a try some day. The recipe looks good.


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