If you’ve been living in a cave then you might wonder, ‘what is shakshouka?’. Well buddy, I’ll let you in an the big (not so) secret. Shakshouka, or shakshuka is a North African dish believed to have originated from Tunisia. Your average shakshouka will consist of eggs poached in a tomato and pepper sauce which practically screams out for bread to be dunked into it. Countries all over the Middle East (and world) love it, and prepare it in similar yet ever so slightly different ways. For example in Cyprus it is commonly heavily flavoured with cinnamon and cumin, whereas in others, a simple dash of turmeric and cayenne pepper will suffice.
What I love about this dish is that, apart from the beautiful medley of flavours and satisfaction involved in a bread dunk and a runny yolk, it is incredibly healthy and hearty. It’s also the perfect sharing meal. Sharing is caring, after all.
This right here is my perfect shakshouka recipe. Chunky with a bit of spice, a bit of heat and of course perfectly poached eggs. Enjoy (for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Seriously influenced by this shakshouka
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large white onion, peeled and sliced into half rings
- 2 red peppers, seeds removed and cut into 1cm slices
- 2 yellow peppers, as above
- 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, with extra for garnish
- 6 medium tomatoes, peeled*
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 large eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large pan or skillet, dry roast the cumin seeds for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the olive oil, garlic and onions and sauté until soft.
Add the peppers, thyme and parsley and cook on a medium heat until softened – around 10 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, turmeric, paprika and season to taste. Push the tomatoes down gently with the back of a spoon to flatten slightly. Cook gently for 15 minutes until the liquids from the tomatoes and peppers have reduced enough so you’re left with a chunky yet sauce-like consistency.
Make 4 spaces within the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Use a fork to spread the whites around a bit, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid or tin foil, and leave to cook for about 5 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked.
Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread. If you’re feta obsessed like myself, then go ahead and sprinkle that on too.
*An easy way to peel the skins off tomatoes is to blanche them by placing them in a bowl of boiled water for about 5 minutes. The skins should slide right off.