Every time I say, “I made Shakshuka”, somebody in the room is bound to ask “What’s that?!”
Simply put, Shakshuka, or shakshouka, is a breakfast dish of eggs cooked in a delectable made-from-scratch tomato sauce. It most likely originated in the Libyan-Tunisian region. You could say it is the Middle Eastern version of Huevos Rancheros, or Eggs in Purgatory.
This dish is my ultimate comfort food, and it’s a huge hit with my family.
The sauce I use for this recipe is my go-to tomato sauce. I use it for practically everything – pizzas, pasta, shakshuka, as a dip for my fries, you name it.
The secret to this sauce tasting positively seductive is the roasting of the tomatoes, and the caramelizing of the onions. Sometimes if you’re making marinara sauce, you would add a sprinkling of sugar to balance the acidic tartness of the tomatoes. For this sauce, however, it is the roasted onions that add a sweet dimension to the sauce. I used purple onions, but feel free to go with whatever you have at hand.
After roasting the vegetables, blend it into a smooth sauce, or a chunky one if that’s what you like. Then gently poach the eggs in the simmering sauce.
The best part about this dish is that it is so customizable! It might not be authentic, but it will taste amazing! I didn’t add any garlic for this recipe, but I often do. You can play around with the seasonings. Use whatever herbs you have at hand. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, but please add them if you do. You could also add a pinch of cumin – a staple spice for Middle Eastern cuisine.
And did I mention? It’s vegetarian and gluten free too!
- 4 eggs
- 5 ripe tomatoes
- 2 large onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 green chilies (optional)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Dice the tomatoes and onions into roughly 1 inch cubes.
- Slit the chilies, if you are using them, down the middle.
- Take all the tomatoes and onions, along with the garlic and the chilies in a large bowl.
- Add in all your spices, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour extra virgin olive oil on top and give everything a good mix.
- Place a grill pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, spread the marinated vegetables on it in a single layer.
- Let the vegetables roast for about 5 minutes until they are slightly caramelized.
- When done, turn off the heat, and let the vegetables cool.
- Process the cooled vegetables in your food processor or blender till you get a sauce of your desired consistency.
- Place a saucepan or a skillet over medium heat, and when hot, pour in the sauce.
- When it starts to bubbles at the sides, make four small dents in the sauce and crack in the eggs.
- Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook the eggs to your desired done-ness.
- Remove from heat, and serve with pita bread.