Shakshuka is a typical North African (Tunisia) dish that feeds the body and soul, equally. Versions of it can be found in other countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Palestine…
- olive oil, a generous amount (for real)
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 bell peppers (red, yellow or green)
- 300 gr tomato sofrito (4 ripe tomatoes, plain tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes in a tin work well too)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp sugar or honey
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- water (if mixture gets dry)
- 3-4 large eggs
Place a large pan on medium heat, pour a generous amount of olive oil and the cumin seeds. Sauté them until they begin to smell incredibly nice and toasted (but don't let them burn).
Chop the onion into half moons (or however you like, really) and add them to the pan. Mix well so they're coated in the cumin oil, and let them cook for 10 mins, until soft and transparent.
Slice the peppers into lng thin slices. Remove the seeds and white bits. Add to the pan, mix and cook until they become soft.
Add the tomato sofrito, thyme, bay leaf, sugar, chopped parsley, cayenne pepper and mix well. Bring to low heat and cover. Let it cook for 5-10 mins, allowing the mixture to reduce. If it becomes a little dry, add some water to prevent veggies from burning.
With a spoon, make space for 3 or 4 eggs, pressing the mixture down, creating little pools for the eggs to fit in. Crack and egg in each hole, increase the heat to mdium-high and cover. Allow the eggs to cook for 1-2 mins, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still a little runny.
Uncover, add a pinch of salt and black pepper on the eggs, and serve hot.
I recommend you bring the pan to the table, sprinkle some chopped parsley, and serve this dish with lots of warm bread. You will need it to clean your plates 😉
Cook the vegetable sofrito in advance and, when you want to enjoy this dish, simply reheat it in a pan, crack a few eggs and toast some bread.
Cooked vegetable sofrito will last 2-3 days in the fridge.
A little more about Ottolenghi’s Shakshuka
This recipe is inspired in Ottolenghi’s recipe on his book Plenty. If you haven’t heard of him, I’d check him out. He has written in The Guardian for a while and has published several books worth keeping closeby.
His food is incredibly tasty, he shows great respect for the ingredients he uses and the flavour combinations are jaw-droppingly magical. If it wasn’t too clear, I truly admire the guy.
Where does shakshuka come from?
Shakshuka is traditional from Tunisia, North Africa. The word shakshuka actually means “mix” in Arab argot and it is thought to come from the Bereber word chakchouk, meaning “vegetable stew”. This dish is typical in other Middle Eastern cousines: Israel, Palestine, Libia, Argelia, Morocco, Egypt… and it’s commonly served in an iron pan or tajin dish, with bread on the side.
You can find siblings and cousins of Shakshuka in other countries too. In Turkey, they make menemen. In Spain we have pisto manchego. The Hungarian lecsó or Slovakian lečo are quite similar too.
What can you eat shakshuka with?
You can eat shakshuka with warm toasted bread, rice, quinoa, millet or any other grain based food.
If you want to make it a slightly lighter meal, serve it with a fresh salad. Here are some ideas:
In your kitchen
If you try this recipe, please let me know how it went in the comments section.
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