Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة; Hebrew: שקשוקה) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.
History of Shakshuka
Shakshouka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisines traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tagine with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews.
According to food writer Claudia Roden, Tunisian cooks added artichoke hearts, potatoes and broad beans to the dish. Because eggs are the main ingredient, it is often on breakfast menus, but in Israel, it is also a popular evening meal. It has been said to challenge Hummus and Falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter. According to some food historians, the dish was invented in the Ottoman Empire, spreading throughout the Middle East and Spain, where it is often served with spicy sausage. Another belief is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with Skhug, a hot green paste. Some versions include salty cheeses.
Shakshouka is similar to the Turkish dish Menemen, and the Mexican breakfast dish Huevos Rancheros but different in the fact that the egg yolks are kept whole instead of scrambled. In Turkish cuisine, there is also Sakşuka, which is more like a ratatouille. Shakshouka is also similar to Spanish Pisto Manchego, a traditional La Mancha dish from southeast Spain, usually also accompanied by a fried egg.
- Heat a skillet, cast iron works well, on a medium heat. Drizzle some olive oil in the skillet, dice the onion and fry it for six to eight minutes, until soft. Add the cumin, paprika and red chilli flakes.
- Dice one pepper and add to the skillet. Fry for three minutes then add 4 cloves of crushed garlic. Fry for another three minutes then add four diced tomatoes to the skillet.
- Keep on a medium low heat for about ten minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down.
- Make a small indentation in the tomato liquid so the eggs don’t run when you crack them into the skillet.
- Cook, covered, for 12 minutes on low.