Shakshuka is an Arabic preparation of eggs poached on a bed of saucy tomatoes, peppers and onions – a very delightful brunch recipe with very less work!
Whenever I discover recipes like today’s Shakshuka, I feel as if I have discovered a new life! Honestly! Recipes like frittatas, stir-fries and now this new addition, shakshuka, make my life so easy as well as pleasurable at the same time that I can’t thank them enough! I learned this recipe of Shakshuka some time back during my self-learning YouTube sessions and it got hooked to my brain. I made this delightful Arabic breakfast called Shakshuka multiple times at home for my egg-lover husband and finally we could photograph it to put it up here. Thanks to religiously dedicating an hour a day for my self-learning sessions, I got to learn so much about cuisines, cultures, food trends across the world by browsing through zillions of videos available on You Tube. And I so love it! Without this digital window to the world, I couldn’t have possibly come this far with my blog. All my culinary learning had been possible thanks to this awesome place called YouTube – starting from ‘how to make a pie-crust’ to that perfect ‘crème caramel’!
Today’s recipe on offer is Shakshuka which is another great learning of mine from one of my sessions and it immediately got my attention. I didn’t have much egg recipes in my repertoire, hence I was really curious; plus, this shakshuka looked quite tempting in itself! The name of this dish sounded very different which is why I did few Google search on the history of this attractive looking dish. Wikipedia says “Shakshouka means “a mixture” in Tunisian Arabic”; but honestly for me it simply means ‘double-delight’ – easy to make and tasty to eat! Sounds fun, right? It is absolutely fun to make this shakshuka at home, especially on a lazy weekend when going out for brunch seems like too much effort and you prefer to cuddle on the couch instead. Shakshuka can also be a great option when you have friends over for breakfast or for quick chat; just portion out two eggs per person and you can easily whip it up quickly without much of a fuss about estimating the quantity to make.
My inclination towards cooking had surfaced during a very young age of mine. That one day is still so very fresh in my memory when I was trying to operate the blender on my own (in absence of my mom or any elderly for that matter) to make spinach puree for a very ambitious palak paneer and a few seconds later, all the kitchen walls turned green! Thanks to my inexperience with blenders! Though my palak paneer didn’t materialize that day, but finally I have learned my way out! And trust me, this journey from a disastrous palak paneer episode to this absolutely mouthwatering shakshuka has been fantastic so far! I must also admit that this journey has also been immensely enjoyable because of my better half who is a true foodie at heart and have always encouraged me to try out new things. He never shied away from trying new cuisines or food which gave me enough confidence to implement my theoretical learning into real dishes.
Egg is my husband’s favorite food of all! Yes, among all edible items in the world, he prefers egg the most. So, any egg recipe I come across gets materialized immediately in our kitchen. So is the case for shakshuka and I can’t be thankful enough! The colorful combination of onions, bell peppers and tomatoes topped with white poached eggs in shakshuka seems like an artist’s canvas, isn’t it? The base of shakshuka is primarily tomato sauce; so, if you happen to have a jar of tomato sauce handy, it will be much easier for you to pull it off quickly. I didn’t have one, so I had used fresh tomatoes in my shakshuka. If using fresh ones, try to pick the ripest ones which are bright red in color. They will add balanced sweetness along with the tartness into your shakshuka. For bell peppers, you are at liberty to use pepper of any color of your choice. Do try this beautiful brunch recipe and I am sure you will love it!
- Eggs – 4
- White onion – 1, medium, thinly sliced
- Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves, minced
- Red bell pepper – 1, medium
- Green bell pepper – 1 medium
- Tomato – 4, medium
- Chilli flakes – 1 tsp [You can substitute this with paprika]
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Freshly chopped cilantro – a handful
- Olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Cut the bell pepper into half inch squares. De-seed the tomatoes and cut into similar sized squares as of bell peppers.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick shallow frying pan, add minced garlic and saute for few seconds until fragrant.
- When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and both red & green bell peppers. Saute them on medium-low heat till are soft and lightly browned. This would take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Next add the chopped tomatoes and stir them in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook till the tomatoes are cooked down and all mushy for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- One all the vegetables have turned soft, roughly make 4 indentations for placing the eggs.
- Now crack one egg at a time in a small bowl. Carefully drop each egg into each dents.
- Cover and cook the eggs until the egg whites are firm but the yolks are still little runny. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes on low heat.
- Once done, scoop out 2 eggs with generous amount of tomato-bell pepper sauce per serving, garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro and serve your shakshuka hot!