I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Shakshuka – a searingly-spicy dish starring eggs poached in a fiery tomato sauce simmering with herbs and spices.
It’s origin is yet to be decided. Some accounts suggest it hails from Yemen, while others trace it back to the Ottoman Empire. The name itself takes root in the Arabic or Amazigh (Berber) word for “mixture!”
With shakshuka a breakfast staple in Tel Aviv, we have Israeli-born Chef Eyal Jagermannn sharing his recipe for an authentic rendition that’s effortlessly-easy to cook up at at home! Over to him…
To make a 4 egg Shakshuka, you’ll need:
- 4 juicy tomatoes – any type will work, or a mix of few varieties. Not a must, but I like to peel the tomatoes by poaching them in boiling water for 30 seconds, which helps separate the skin and makes it easier to peel. Roughly dice the tomatoes after.
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced.
- 1 green chili, finely sliced.
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- A bit of cumin and turmeric also works well here. And if you have a bit of harissa at home, this will add some kick to the shakshuka, but not a must!
- 4 good quality eggs.
- Olive oil, salt and pepper.
The method is very simple – we’re going to make a fragrant tomato sauce to poach the eggs in.
- In a medium size pan and on medium heat, add the sliced garlic and chilli with a half cup of olive oil. We’re looking for a sizzle on the garlic and chilli, which means that the flavours are being extracted by the oil, to impart into the whole dish.
- Once we see the garlic turning golden, throw in the dry spices and cook them in the oil for just about 20-30 seconds to release all their flavours into the oil.
- When the pan is sizzling and releasing wonderful aromas, it’s time to go in with the tomatoes, then add 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well. We want the tomatoes to break down into the oil and absorb all the wonderful flavours from the chilli, garlic and spices. After a few minutes, add half a cup of boiling water, stir and cook until the tomatoes are softened and give shape to a fragrant sauce for the eggs.
- Lower the heat and check the sauce for flavour. Now is the time to add salt / spices / a squeeze of lemon. The sauce should be a little bit runny – this will thicken with the eggs.
- Using a table spoon, form 4 wells in the sauce and crack the eggs inside. Do this carefully, so you don’t break the yolks! Season the eggs with a bit of salt and black pepper.
- Cover the pan and cook on a low heat. We want the egg whites to form, but for the yolk to still be gooey and juicy.
Bonus: Just before you add the eggs, you can throw in some mozzarella or feta. The cheese will melt and combine with the sauce and the eggs to add a creamy and lush layer.
Serve the Shakshuka just like that, hot off the stove and still in the pan, garnished with fresh coriander and with warm bread and lots of lemony tahini on the side. Classic Shakshuka at its best. Feel free to experiment with this and create your own!