If you’ve never heard of Shakshouka, you’re in for quite a treat!
Shakshouka is dish of tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices topped with poached eggs, cooked in a skillet over the stove top, and usually served straight from the pan.
According to The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey quote in Wikipedia, “Shakshouka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisines traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews.”
What I’ve read is that while Shakshouka is commonly served as a breakfast meal, it is also often eaten at dinner time in Israel. The dish is very easy to make, but the flavours by no means reflect that. I’ve had the chance to eat this dish on my travels, in Middle-Eastern type restaurants in Europe (I’ve never been to the Middle East and North Africa), but this is my first attempt at cooking it.
You need very basic ingredients: canned tomatoes, a yellow onion, garlic, green or red peppers, spices (black pepper, paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper if you so wish) and salt and sugar to taste. Let the stew simmer for a bit, then crack 5-6 eggs on top before covering briefly til the whites form.. til the eggs are half cooked and still runny.
Jason and I love this dish because it is both hearty and healthy. You can choose to make an all-vegetarian version, or add some chicken or beef sausages for even better flavour. I used pretty minimal olive oil for this, and if you leave out the meat, this dish is all about tomatoes, aromatics, spices and eggs. I served mine today with crusty baguette from the neighbourhood bakery (so good!), but you could leave out the bread if you’re cutting down on carbs.
If you have half an hour (including prep time!) to spare, cook Shakshouka. I bet you’ll fall in love with it like I did!