Şakşuka is a traditional Turkish side dish or meze. It is pronounced same as shakshouka but differs from it mainly by not having egg. The dish is prepared by sauteing cubed eggplant, potatoes, carrots, green capsicums and courgettes. For the sauce, saute garlic with a little bit of oil (preferably olive oil) and add tomatoes after the garlic is browned. Transfer the sauteed vegetables to a serving plate, pour tomato sauce on them and add yoghurt on top of it all.
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper)
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
- 1 red onion
- 1 small zucchini or courgette
- 5 large tomatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- olive or vegetable oil for frying
- Begin by washing, peeling and cleaning the vegetables, including the tomatoes. To prepare the eggplant, cut off both ends then using the edge of a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, remove the skin in alternating strips going from top to bottom. Do this gently saving as much flesh as you can.
- Cut the eggplant into bite-sized rectangular chunks about two inches long. Put the chunks of eggplant in a large wire strainer or colander and salt them well, turning them with your hands to salt all sides. Let the salted eggplant rest for about 15 minutes while you prepare the other vegetables. This removes the bitterness.
- Coarsely dice the capsicums, red onion, squash and garlic and peel the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into cubes. Once the vegetables are ready, pour about 5 cm of oil in a deep frying pan or saucepan and turn the heat on high. While the oil is heating, wash the eggplant in the strainer with cold water, turning it with your hands, until the salt is removed. Drain them well and blot off the extra water with paper kitchen towels before you fry them.
- Fry the eggplant in the hot until tender and just beginning to brown at the edges. Do the same with the squash. Strain out the fried vegetables and drain them on a thick layer of paper towels. Let them sit for several minutes to make sure as much oil as possible drains away.
- In the meantime, put two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and fry the onions, garlic and capsicums until tender. Add the cubes tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and spices. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer until the tomato cubes are soft and begin to break down. Remove the lid, stir it well and let the sauce simmer until most of the liquid is reduced. It should be the consistency of bottled pasta sauce.
- In a mixing bowl, add the eggplant, squash and tomato sauce and stir together well. Put the Şakşuka in a serving dish and chill for several hours. Just before serving, spoon generous amounts of garlic yoghurt over the top.
Make sure you have plenty of paper kitchen towels on hand to drain the fried vegetables well. The eggplant will absorb a lot of oil during frying, and too much can weigh the dish down.