Shakshuka! Bless you! No man, I’m talking about the hot, deliciously-irresistible, Tunisian dish that will change the way you cook eggs. This is your opportunity to bring this vegetarian, mouth-watering food all the way from North Africa onto your own dinner, lunch or breakfast table.
Shakshuka For Beginners
The first time I ate shakshuka, I was sitting at a restaurant on the Mediterranean coast, watching a fading sunset – pretty romantic, I know. I was alone though. The waitress asked me in fluent but accent-ruined English if I was ready to order. I said, “Yes. I’d like the… um the, shuk, um…shuk-shi-ka?” She giggled, and politely corrected me, “Shak-shoo-ka!” “Ah yes,” I replied, “I’ll take one of those shakshuka things.”
20 minutes passed and then it came. But before the simmering pot made its way to my table, an aromatic melody of scents got my nostrils flaring and my stomach churning. There it was. A hot, red mess of cooked vegetables, unpoached eggs, fresh herbs and spices, and a small loaf of bread to accompany it. I was ready to dig in, she warned me that the hot chili peppers were both hot and chilies, so I approached with caution.
How Can I Make It?
**Preparation Time: 10 minutes** **Cooking Time: 30 mins** **Serves 6**
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped (preferably 1 red & 1 yellow)
– 1 chili pepper, chopped finely
– 1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
– 4 cups red cherry tomatoes, diced
– 1 teaspoon cumin powder
– 1 teaspoon hot paprika
– 2 tablespoon, fresh chopped coriander
– 6 eggs
– salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large skillet pan and add the chopped onion with the oil. After it starts simmering, throw in the garlic. When the onion and garlic starts to get a shiny look and they are yellowish, get the peppers ready. Throw in the peppers and chili peppers and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes.
By now the vegetables in the pan should be softening, so it means it’s time for the tomatoes. Throw in the lot of them. At this point you can add the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Then mix it all before closing it for another 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat.
Open the lid to see how the vegetables are – they should be soft and the mix should be watery with soft vegetables. Use this opportunity to taste if you need to add any spices. Here’s the fun part: Crack open one egg at a time and carefully place them in between the vegetables, making sure not to pop the yolks. Repeat this process until all the eggs are in the pan. Add some salt and pepper. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat.
Depending on how you like your eggs (runny, semi-runny or hard) you can choose when to take the shakshuka off the heat. I usually wait between 10 and 15 minutes, but what’s important is not to open the lid too often. Rather keep that heat trapped inside the pan. This dish is best served with some bread, hummus or tahini and a gorgeous sunset on the Mediterranean… if you can. Ladies and gentlemen, Tunisian shakshuka at home! Bon appétit… or shahiat jayida!