Eggs Shakshuka Recipe
Staying in the Middle East has many benefits as my culinary horizons have broadened, learning more about not just Mediterranean but eastern & western cuisines as well because Dubai is a melting pot of over 200 nationalities staying together and inspiring everyone’s taste-buds.
As most of my cooking starts and ends on the weekend breakfast, I ensure I try out new recipes every time. Sometimes the recipes I know would be altered based on my mood, hunger level and ingredients readily available in the fridge.
Shakshuka is an amazing dish of poached eggs over tomato & peppers based spiced stew, which can be had anytime of the day as it’s utterly filling and lip-smakingly wholesome. Though its origins are disputed with many countries claiming the stew as their own – Morocco, Yemen, Ottomon Turkey, Syria, Balkans, Magreb etc. If you go to the Wikipedia page, it says that a stew based dish existed much before in many countries with variations of minced meat and livers, but the North African nations like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco made it their staple with eggs and spicing it up. It’s also fairly popular in Israel, Saudi, Egypt and UAE.
The original recipe has a basic spice mix of coriander, caraway, paprika, cumin, cayenne with a healthy portion of bell peppers and feta, while I have made a more Indian-ized version with desi spices. The other reason was that I don’t like tomatoes overpowering my stew’s flavours, nor I particularly enjoy feta cheese in Shakshuka wherever I have had this dish. I was going through Spinney’s Breakfast issue in their monthly food magazine and got the inspiration to cook Shakshuka.
This is an easy recipe and can be cooked in about 30 to 45 minutes, including the prep.
Ingredients (for 2-3 people):
- 6-7 ripe chopped tomatoes
- 2 diced onions
- 2 finely chopped garlic pods
- 1 red pepper (or green capsicum)
- A bit of Whole spices – bay leaf, black pepper, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon.
- Ground Spices – coriander, cumin, red chilli, garam masala (all-spice mix) and salt.
- 5 eggs (organic/farm fed always tastes better)
- Pour a bit of olive oil in a cast iron pan. Add the whole spices so that the oil becomes fragrant. Cook for 2-3 minutes as the spices sputter.
- Add in the onions & bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes as onions turn brown and peppers become soft.
- Slide in the tomatoes & garlic. Cook for 5 minutes as the tomatoes reduce to a thick paste.
- Sprinkle the ground spices now, add a bit of water and cover. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Open the lid and crack open the eggs on top of the stew directly after making recesses, each of them equidistant from each other. When you place the eggs, pour from minimum height, so that the yolk stays intact.
- Cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid and sprinkle dried or fresh herbs.
- It’s a thick crust now, slice it through like you do to a pizza and serve on a plate.
- Enjoy with buttered focaccia slices or pita bread.
Though this is my version, you may feel free to add minced meat, feta, spinach, okra, or anything to this one-pot-wonder. The beauty of this meal is that it’s flexible to be modified to any taste & preference.