Recipe: Simple Shakshuka – and three ways to pimp it up

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a classic North African and Middle Eastern dish which at its most basic, centres around eggs poached in a spicy stew – Shakshuka literally means “a mixture” and the traditional version uses tomatoes, onions and spices. I first discovered it in Tel Aviv, where a restaurant called Dr Shakshuka gets packed out with a buzzing mix of tourists and locals keen to try out their different varieties of the dish.

I’m always fan of any meal that is best eaten straight from the pan, and these days you can find Shakshuka on brunch menus all over the UK. Luckily, it’s also a simple to make at home – so you can still get your fix during the lockdown.

Below I’ve shared the Shakshuka recipe that I use; if you’re feeding kids or you’re not keen on spice, you can leave out the chilli powder.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

To serve (optional):

  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Chilli flakes
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • Chunks of sourdough or fresh pitta bread

METHOD

  • Add the oil to a large, flat bottomed pan and fry the minced garlic clove and a diced white onion until soft and the onions are starting to become translucent.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, chilli powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and dried parsley to the pan, and simmer until the sauce becomes thick. If it gets to dry in the pan too soon, you can add some water.
  • Make four ‘wells’ in the tomato mixture and crack an egg into each one.
  • Poach the eggs in the sauce for about 10 minutes on a medium heat – if you can cover the pan you can speed this up a bit. You want the whites to be cooked and the yolks to be runny when it’s served.
  • To serve, top the stew with cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes. Bring the pan to the table and crumble over feta cheese and a scattering of fresh parsley.

Feeling more adventurous?

Here are some tasty ways to pimp up your Shakshuka:

  1. ADD SOME SAUSAGE: Whether it’s a few chunks of chorizo, a smattering of nduja or a spoonful of sobrasada, you can make Shakshuka into a heartier, more luxurious dish by adding a bit of your favourite spicy sausage to the stew during cooking.
  2. TURN IT GREEN: Swap out the tomatoes for your favourite green veggies for a healthy twist; this BBC Good Food recipe uses spinach, parsley and frozen peas.
  3. MAKE IT DESI: local food blogger and 2017 Masterchef finalist Imran Nathoo recently shared his recipe for ‘Desi Eggs’ – a South Indian spiced twist on a classic Shakshuka. You can get his full recipe via Instagram.
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