The Mediterranean Dish Shakshuka

Shakshouka is a dish that originated in Tunisia, North Africa and it’s an Arabic term meaning, “a mixture.”

The dish is a delicious mixture of tomatoes, olive oil, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika and coriander.

When the tomato mixture has cooked, wells are made in the sauce with the back of a large wooden spoon and eggs are nestled into each well created.

The skillet is covered allowing the eggs to simmer in the sauce over medium-low heat until the whites have cooked.

Since the appearance of the recipe in a popular 2011 cookbook, “Plenty,” written by Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi and with it’s appearance in the food section of The New York Times and on innumerable cooking websites, Shakshouka has popped up on kitchen tables across the globe.

In 2013, Buzzfeed, an American Internet media, news and entertainment company, listed, “26 Reasons Shakshuka Is The Most Perfect Food,” with number two being, “Some say it’s like the Mexican breakfast dish Huevos Rancheros.”

And if you ever had and fell in love with the Mexican breakfast, Huevos Rancheros, then you’ll equally have the same feelings for Shakshouka.

The Mediterranean Dish Shakshuka

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander *See Cook’s Notes

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

Salt and pepper

6 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 6 cups chopped tomatoes)

½ cup tomato sauce

6 large eggs

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Cook’s Notes

In place of the three seasonings used in this recipe, coriander, sweet paprika and cumin, you can use 2 tablespoons of the North African inspired spice, Harissa.

Harissa is typically a hot chili pepper paste, native to the Maghreb.

The main ingredients are roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers, spices and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and olive oil.

It also is produced as a powdered seasoning.

Cooking Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, green peppers, garlic, spices, pinch salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook a bit longer to allow the mixture to reduce and thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Using a wooden spoon, make 6 indentations, or “wells,” in the tomato mixture – making sure the indentations are evenly spaced – Gently crack an egg into each indention.

Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and cook on low until the egg whites are set.

Uncover and add the fresh parsley and mint. You can add more black pepper or crushed red pepper, if you like.

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