Shakshuka is a popular Israeli breakfast dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, often mopped up with bread; is also served at other times of the day. It makes an excellent vegetable side with steak and a lunch dish served with a salad.
The origins of shakshuka seem to be debatable; some say it originated as a Tunisian dish, others believe it was Libyan and some say Moroccan. but these days it is popular in Jerusalem, all over Israel and more recently in Australia. There are many variations of shakshuka, so experiment with the spices as you please. In this particular version I have added tomatoes and spices. You can also substitute the spices with 2 or 3 tablespoons of our own harissa.
Serves 8 – 10
½- 1 tsp cumin seeds
190ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored, de-seeded and cut into thin trips
2 tsp raw sugar
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
½ or 1 small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 x 450g tin crushed Annalisa tomatoes
½ tsp very loosely saffron strands, too much saffron gives a metallic taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
Pinch of chili flakes, or to taste
Pinch cayenne, or to taste
Salt and pepper
Up to 250ml water, if necessary
8 free-range eggs
120g thick yoghurt, cumin yoghurt, chopped feta or labneh
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
In a large frying pan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, thyme, parsley, garlic and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on a medium-high heat to get a nice colour. You do not want it to burn, and so stir constantly, until onions and peppers are well cooked, but not browned. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes, if necessary, add some water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Divide the mixture between your 8 or 10 ramekins. Make an indentation in the middle of each, and break an egg into each ramekin. Use a fork to gently swirl the whites a little bit with the sauce, taking care not to break the yolks. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook in your pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the egg white is just set and the yolks still runny.
To serve top each with a dollop of yoghurt or labne, a sprinkle of coriander and crusty bread.