Shakshouka

Shakshouka

Essentially eggs poached in a molten mound of spicy tomato
stew that comes in many different variations, shakshouka is the
ultimate wake-me-up throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

Origins
Some claim it was introduced to North Africa by the Ottoman Turks, but shakshouka is commonly acknowledged as being Tunisian in origin. It’s certainly likely that in Israel, where the dish is enormously popular, shakshouka first arrived thanks to the immigration of Tunisian Jews in the mid-20th century. It’s a simple concept, remarkably similar to Mexican huevos rancheros.

SERVES 4

You’ll need
3 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and
chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and
minced
3 red capsicums, diced
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tsp caraway seeds
750g (1½lb) fresh tomatoes,
peeled, seeded and
chopped (tinned tomatoes
can be substituted)
2–3 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1–2 tbs harissa (optional)
4 large eggs
Fresh crusty bread to serve

Cooking Method
1 Heat the oil to a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft.
2 Add the capsicum, chilli and caraway seeds. Saute until the capsicum is tender (about 5 minutes).
3 Add the tomatoes, paprika, cumin, salt and harissa (if using). Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
4 Make shallow wells in the sauce for the eggs (you can use the back of a spoon). Carefully break in the eggs.
5 Cover the pan and cook the eggs over a low heat. For soft yolks, allow around 5 minutes. If you wish, you can swirl the sauce into the egg whites as they cook, being careful not to damage the yolks.
6 Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Tasting notes
Who needs coffee when spice can get the synapses firing in the morning? Shakshouka is a visual treat as well as a savoury one – try making it yourself to watch the eggs turn opaque and start googling up at you from the pan. But don’t break the yolks! That’s a pleasure to reserve for the eating: experience the gradual merging of tastes as the wholesome, rich yolk mixes with its spicy surrounds, cutting through the acidity while taking on all the pep of the chillies and paprika. Be sure to have some fresh, crusty bread on the side; use it to mix the colours, textures and delightful flavours of this warming, invigorating dish.

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