Shakshouka, shakshuka, chakchouka. However you spell it, we’re talking about Middle Eastern/North African eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce today, at the request of a fellow Yasmine, a lovely reader who wrote asking for my recipe.
At a recent family gathering, my father-in-law brought over a dozen eggs recently plucked from their chickens (this has become somewhat of a ritual at family get togethers, collecting/exchanging newly harvested produce). Fresh, free range eggs have the fluffy whites and super silky yolks needed for a dish like shakshouka, where the eggs are the hero of the dish.When cooked until just set, the yolks marble into the cumin and chili-flecked tomato sauce when poked with a fork, making quite clear the reason this dish is so revered throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
I’ve made this shakshouka to serve one, since I’m the President and only member of the Runny Eggs Fan Club in our home. Double or triple the recipe to serve more people. Or, if served alongside juice or coffee, plus some fresh fruit or yogurt, two people could easily share this serving for one. Don’t forget fresh Arabic bread – a must for scooping up the spicy sauce.
No need to invest in chickens of your own. Most supermarkets sell free range, organic eggs at reasonable prices. Or, pick some up from your local farmers market.
- 1 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 small onion, finely diced
- 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced or minced
- 1 cup good-quality tinned tomatoes
- 2 free range eggs
- Feta cheese, fresh parsley and fresh black pepper, to garnish
- Arabic bread, for scooping
Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry one minute or until fragrant.
Add the onion and continue frying 4-5 minutes, until they start to soften.
Add the bell pepper and garlic and fry an additional 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the tomatoes, then let simmer over medium-low for 10 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Add salt to taste.
Use a spoon to make two little "holes" in the tomato sauce, and crack the eggs into the holes.
Cover the frying pan, reduce heat to low, and cook 4-5 minutes or until the eggs are just set (the yolks should be runny, but add 1-2 minutes of cooking time if you prefer firm yolks).
Remove from heat and serve immediately, topped with as much crumbled feta, parsley and fresh black pepper as you please, plus Arabic bread, for sopping up the sauce.
This recipe can be easily doubled, or tripled, to feed as many people as necessary. The serving for one is a hearty breakfast that, if served alongside juice or coffee, plus plenty of Arabic bread, could easily serve two for a lighter meal.
Audio pairing: Groove Armada, “At The River”