Shakshuka came to Israel by way of immigrants from Tunisia. Its rustic North African origin is betrayed by the chili bite and how it makes the most of local ingredients: ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggs. Sustainable, flavorful, folkloric and quick. Can’t get better than that.
Shakshuka: Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce
Yield: four servings
4 ripe tomatoes, not peeled and roughly cut into chunks
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 bell peppers of different colors (red and yellow are especially attractive), seeded and sliced into eighths
2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 small, de-seeded red chili, finely chopped – or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne flakes
1/4 – 1/2 cup water, as needed
4 large eggs
A handful of chopped coriander, parsley, or spring onions, for garnish
Prepare the vegetables, putting each sliced or chopped one in a separate bowl.
1. Put the ground cumin into a large skillet and let it heat through for a few seconds or until the aroma rises. Add the olive oil to the skillet.
2. Add the onions and sauté for two minutes, till they wilt. Add the sliced peppers to the skillet and sauté another 5 minutes, or until they too are softened.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped chili or cayenne flakes. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 20 minutes. Add water as needed to make a thick sauce. Do not add so much water as to make the sauce runny. It should be juicy but semi-solid, like a thick pasta sauce.
4. With a spoon, gently push aside the vegetables in four places. Break one egg into each of these places. Cover the skillet with a lid, lower the heat, and cook a further 10 minutes or until the eggs are set to your liking.
5. Sprinkle the shakshuka with the chopped green herbs. Serve 1 egg per person, with generous amounts of sauce.
1- portion serving: spoon some of the sauce into a small frying pan and cook one egg in it.
Meat alternative: Fry a few hot Merguez sausages in olive oil and garnish the Shakshuka with them.
Lazy cook’s alternative: Take any amount of leftover pasta sauce, cook green peppers in it, add cayenne, and poach eggs in it. Add grated cheese (not traditional, but nice) or sausage as above.
In any case, make sure to have plenty of fresh bread to mop up the sauce.
More Middle-Eastern recipes from Green Prophet:
Photo of shakshuka by Miriam Kresh