Shakshuka. Shakky-shakky-shuuuka. Shhhhhhaaaaaaakshhhhhuuuuuka
Sorry, I just think that it’s a really fun word to say. So, shakshuka, what is a shakshuka? A shakshuka is (commonly thought to be) a Tunisian dish. In a nutshell, it’s eggs that are poached in a thick (often spicy) tomato stew. The actual origin of this dish is unknown but it is widely served throughout countries in North Africa and the Middle East, stretching from Mauritania to Israel, the shakshuka proves to be a popular breakfast dish.
So what is so special about a shakshuka? I can sum it up in just three words for you: shpicy, shavoury and delishious. And yes, I do know how to spell, but I also like to think I’m funny. This dish is sharacterised (okay, I’ll stop now) by the tomato base, get this right, and you’re already 80% of the way to success.
Whether you use canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes is all up to you, I happen to find that I don’t need to add any extra salt or sugar when using tinned tomatoes. However if you are using fresh tomatoes, you’ll need to make sure that you dice them into really small pieces, and the cooking time is going to be extended by at least 7 minutes while the tomatoes simmer and break down into that lovely stew.
As far as spice goes, I tend to have no boundaries. Feel free to reduce the amount of chilli, or omit it all together if you are not a fan of spicy food. I’ve been informed that I do tend to go overboard sometimes, so please, drop a comment below if you need me to slow down on the spice.
I like my eggs to be slightly underdone when I’m making this dish, as I love to mop up the runny yolk with a slice of whole wheat toast (and I’m drooling). So usually, if I am making this dish, I’ll bake the eggs for about 12 minutes, but if you’re hard set on having them well done (get it?) then you should bake your eggs for 15 minutes.
Some people prefer to cook their shakshuka on the stove, then in that case, you’ll need to cover the skillet with the lid and leave it to simmer until the whites are set and the eggs are done to your liking. Typically 9 minutes for a well done egg. Yes, it doesn’t take as long if you cook it on the stove top, but I find that the yolks don’t come up looking as yellowy and beautiful when cooked on the stove top. (Or maybe it’s just my method of cooking, but this is just an affectation, feel free to use your stove #aesthetic)
I find this best served with avocado slices, grated feta cheese and a slice of whole wheat toast.
2 tbsp olive oil
½ yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ of a large yellow bell pepper (Feel free to add other colours too such as red and green)
1 can of tinned tomatoes or 4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 small chillies, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp grated feta cheese for serving (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C or 350°F.
- Heat the olive oil on medium high in a large non-stick skillet, and fry the onions until soft, about 2 minutes
- Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the pepper(s) and cooking for another minute.
- Reduce the heat to low before adding the tinned tomatoes and chillies and simmering for a further 3 minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and released their juices.
- Use a wooden spoon to make gaps in the stew, into which your eggs will go. Crack the eggs into these gaps before putting the skillet in the oven and baking for 12 minutes. (If you like your eggs well done, bake for 15 minutes)
- When the whites have set and the yolks are done to your liking, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top with feta cheese and serve with toast and avocado.