Shakshouka is a meal that sounds as fun and pleasing to the ear as it is to taste. It’s a dish I grew up with, is widely popular on breakfast menus throughout Israel and can be found throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Though not similar in flavors, you might compare its popularity to Eggs Benedict or Huevos Rancheros served here in the United States. The dish came up in conversation with food bloggers recently, so I’m happy to serve it up as well.
Hearty, spicy tomato sauce with cooked eggs, I easily enjoy shakshouka any time of day; for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it’s a great dish to serve for brunch. Originally of Tunisian origin, shakshouka (also written as shakshuka, chakchouka and referred to as menemen in Turkey) means “a mixture” and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a mixture of tomatoes, onions and spices with poached eggs. Beyond those traditional ingredients, there are a number of different ingredients to add to this delicious egg dish. Here’s how I usually make mine:
Olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons)
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced small (you can substitute with a green or yellow Bell pepper or omit altogether)
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped (more or less, depending on your preference)
4-5 tomatoes diced (I prefer vine ripened tomatoes)
Tomato purée or paste (optional)
Paprika (I use fresh ground paprika, recommended if available; hot or sweet based on preference )
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
To make the sauce, sauté the onions, add the peppers (adding chili peppers for heat is an option as well). Add the garlic, then spices and the tomato purée (used to thicken the sauce, and is optional), followed by the tomatoes. Mix over low heat and adjust the seasoning. Crack the eggs on top (placing each individually around the pan). Cook until the eggs set. Top with fresh chopped parsley or mint if available.
Bread is a must-have with shakshouka to sop up the sauce and balance the heat of the spicy-paprika tomatoes. I often serve it at home with warm pita, but in Israel (and if you’re visiting) order it with a side of fresh baked multi-grain bread. I also enjoy it with a side of labneh or laban which is a strained yogurt, also popular throughout the Levant. I love topping labneh with olive oil and za’atar a Middle Eastern spice mixture.
Since most of my recipes are in “a little of this, some of that” quantities, and meant to serve as inspiration, you can find more exact ingredients and measurements on Yummly. My friend Karen is also whipping up shakshuka, visit Globetrotter Diaries for a taste. While I recommend making it fresh and serving right away, you can make the sauce a few days ahead then heat and serve with the eggs.
Shakshouka is a hearty, flavorful, zesty meal that allows you to travel to the Middle East with your taste buds. It’s a favorite of mine, hope you enjoy it as well!