Shakshouka is a spicy dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic, and has existed in Mediterranean cultures for centuries. The name is Tunisian Arabic and means quite simply “A mixture” but that name really undersells the joy this dish offers through its perfectly-balanced flavours.
As Shakshouka has been around so long, the true origins of the dish are heavily disputed, with probably the most accepted version stating that it spread throughout Southern Europe and the Middle East from Ottoman Turkey. Others, however, argue hotly that it originated in Morocco or Yemen, where it is served with a hot green paste called Zhug. The very fact that countries are debating over exactly where it comes from shows just how delicious it really is.
The best part about it is that while delightfully delicious Shakshouka is also really simple to make. While there are a number of varieties out there with some varieties calling for lamb mince, toasted whole spices, yoghurt or feta cheese, the core recipe for Shakshouka is as simple as it gets.
Apart from anything else, this dish is extremely healthy as both eggs and tomatoes have been shown to be extremely beneficial. Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Eggs are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.
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- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp Harissa Paste (Pesto Princess makes a nice one)
- 4-6 red and yellow peppers, cut into strips
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 cans tinned tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 Tbsp honey
- A small bunch of fresh herbs (coriander, mint, parsley and basil all work well).
- 4-6 free-range eggs
- To serve
- Freshly baked baguette or ciabatta
- 1 handful fresh herbs, coarsely chopped
1. Heat some olive oil over medium to high heat in a medium-sized saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes while stirring continuously. Add the Pesto Princess Harissa Paste and mix through.
2. Add the pepper strips then the garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes and fry for another 5 minutes, making sure to get the spices to coat everything evenly.
3. Add the tomatoes, honey and fresh herbs, and let it all simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, adjust the seasoning to taste and add a little water if it starts to dry out.
4. Once the peppers are super soft and the sauce is sweet, make little wells in the sauce with the back of a spoon. Crack an egg into each well and leave to cook over low heat for about another 10 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs done.
Serve with fresh herbs and a bread of your choice to scoop up the shakshuka. Enjoy!