Shakshuka is one of Israelis’ most loved foods. The dish, which was brought to Israel by Jewish immigrants from North Africa, traditionally consists of spiced stewed tomatoes topped with poached eggs.
Now a staple on the menus of coffee shops and restaurants around the country, modern interpretations augment the sauce with all sorts of vegetables, cheeses or meats, including eggplant, kale, feta or sausage. Some variations replace the tomatoes entirely – one popular version substitutes a spinach-cream sauce.
Our shakshuka hews to the traditional. This recipe will give you a lovely shakshuka, rich in flavor. Once you’ve mastered the basic, you can dress it up with additions of your choice.
Serve alongside good bread to mop up the sauce and egg yolks.
glug olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
1 medium red pepper, chopped (1 cup)
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons tomato paste (50 grams / 2 oz)
5 medium tomatoes, chopped (800 grams / 28 oz)
2 tablespoons paprika
pinch cumin (1/8 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
hearty bread for serving
Pour a glug of olive oil into a deep frying pan or saute pan on medium heat. Add onions and let fry for a few minutes, until lightly softened. Stir occasionally. Add red pepper and fry until lightly softened. Add garlic and fry until lightly browned.
Add tomato paste to the pan and stir, letting it brown slightly. Add chopped tomatoes, followed by water, paprika, cumin and salt. Stir until all the ingredients are well integrated, and then cover and let simmer on a low flame for about 10 minutes, until tomatoes are softened and beginning to fall apart. Lift the lid and stir occasionally.
Once tomatoes are cooked, remove lid and stir again. Taste and adjust seasonings. Make sure the sauce is more or less level in the pan.
Add the eggs: Using a spoon, make a well in the surface of the sauce. Crack an egg into the well. Using the spoon, arrange the whites and surrounding sauce as necessary so that the egg yolk is below the surface of the sauce. Repeat for the remaining eggs.
Cover and let simmer on a low flame until the egg whites are set, between 5-8 more minutes. The yolks should be covered with an opaque film when done.
Remove the lid, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately. If the shakshuka sits for too long, or is left covered, the egg yolks will become solid.