A brunch favourite this dish of braised eggs in a tomato pepper sauce (more commonly known as shakshuka), is a delicious and simple dish.
I’ve just spent the last two weeks camping in my living room amongst barricades of boxes containing all the ridiculous amounts of kitchen paraphernalia I seem to have collected over the years. In those two weeks I really missed the ability to cook something even as simple as an egg so I decided to base my first meal in my brand spanking new kitchen around them. I eat eggs a lot, mostly scrambled for breakfast, or as a hidden ingredient in a more complex dish. Once in a while, though, it’s fantastic to make them the star of the show. Particularly relevant today what with eggs being synonymous with Easter.
Shakshuka is a dish of braised eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. The dish originally hails from Tunisia, and from what I can tell is pretty similar to its other Mediterranean derivative – Menemen (from Turkey). I’ve also seen it spelt Chakchouka. According to Yotam Ottolenghi, who covers his variation of this dish in his recent Jerusalem book, it’s completely OK to play around with the spices, and vegetables included in the tomato sauce base – and that is exactly what I’ve done in my version. Carrots for example are not usually part of the recipe, but I rather fancied including them. You could also add harissa paste, to the sauce as Ottolenghi does. I’d love to try an Italian version of this too with Italian herbs & black olives instead of the spice and topped with fresh oregano and parma ham.
Shakshuka can be eaten any time of day. I ate this for a light dinner, and kept the leftovers for breakfast. Would do lunch just nicely too. Since the sauce takes a good 20 minutes to stew up, you could double up on the sauce part of the recipe, then remove half of it before cracking in the eggs, stashing it in the fridge or freezer for a speedy repeat Shakshuka.
I served mine with some dressed green salad for extra goodness.
Note: photos updated in August 2016, when I served this dish to serve 5 people (hence 10 eggs), just simply scale up the rest of the ingredients x 5, except for the garlic – a couple of cloves will still be fine.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 carrots, finely diced (optional)
- 1 red & 1 orange pepper, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons tomato purée
- pinch sea salt
- 1 x 400g tin or carton of chopped tomatoes
- 4 free-range eggs
- handful of parsley
- 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
- Add the carrots (if using) and peppers and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables soften.
- Add the garlic, spices, tomato puree and salt and stir for a minute or so.
- Next add the chopped tomatoes, stir, bring to a simmer and leave to cook for another 10 mins to allow the sauce to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
- Turn the heat down to a gentle bubble. Make 4 wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. If you've got a lid for your frying pan pop it on top, if not you can use an upturned similar sized frying pan. The eggs will take about 10 minutes to poach. Don't let the pan get too hot or the yolks will over cook.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and rest for a few minutes, before topping with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkle of sumac. Gently spoon into serving bowls, adding any sides that you fancy.
- Recipe easily scales up!