My wife stumbled upon a picture of this dish one day on her phone. Neither of us had even heard mention of this dish anywhere before, but the picture looked like something that would be right up our alley. What is this mysterious dish I speak of?
…and if you’ve never heard of it or never had it before, you’re missing out.
Let me start by saying I don’t know much about this dish, just what I’ve gather from a few google sessions. Here’s what I do know:
It’s definitely of Tunisian origins in Northern Africa, and has been adopted by a lot of middle eastern countries. It consists of a spicy tomato stew-like base. This is topped of with some eggs and either baked and finished in a skillet with the lid on until the whites are set. Serve all of that overtime of some beautifully cooked white rice and you’ve got yourself some shakshuka.
Disclosure: I’m not sure of the spelling I’ve seen so many versions…including but not limited to:
I’m sure it depends on where you’re having it as to how it’s spelled, but I’m going to stick with “shakshuka”
I had to play with the spices through the two times of making this stuff. I found that my favorites were chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and paprika. These together brought a nice background heat without stealing all of the thunder from the tomatoes, onions or peppers.
I also used a method I’ve been falling in love with more and more in my cooking to help improve the flavor. That is, using tomato paste with your seasonings and onions, peppers and garlic to make a sort of roux. The tomato paste and the seasoning turn a nice deep and dark color and stick to the pan slightly just waiting to be deglazed. I also used Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan and build more umami flavor.
I struggled with the eggs with this dish. I’m not sure if the tradition is for the eggs to be runny or just set. They look runny in most of the pictures I see online, as did mine. However, they were most certainly set, but still very soft.
I wasn’t disappointed however. This gave a great consistency in the dish once served with rice.
Surprisingly, this dish was a hit with all of the kids. I originally prepared it with one egg for each person except me and I had two. Honestly, I think everyone could’ve handled two eggs.
I truly hope this dish brings something new and exciting to your kitchen and dining room like it did mind. Shakshuka definitely made me want to look more for unheard of dishes from unfamiliar place. I mean, who ever hears of dishes originating from Tunisia? Not I!
- 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, (enough to deglaze pan with, no more)
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cumin
- pinch paprika
- 1 tsp coriander
- salt and pepper
- eggs, 1-2 per each person served, depending on appetite
- white rice of choice to serve with shakshuka
- In a large skillet with tight fitting lid, (lid off right now) heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium high heat until just smoking. Add onion, pepper and 1 tsp of salt and saute until very soft and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Bring in the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another minutes stirring constantly.
- Add in the tomato paste, along with the chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Stir all ingredients until well combined. Keep the heat up and keep moving the mixture around the pan until it starts to stick to the bottom and turn into a darker color, about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the Worcestershire sauce. Start with 1 tbsp and try to scrape up all the bits off the bottom while the Worcestershire sauce sizzles. If that isn’t enough liquid, add the remaining Worcestershire and continue to scrap until the skillet bottom is clean again.
- Add in the cans of diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to thicken. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Crack eggs, evenly spaced, on the surface of the tomato mixture. Raise the heat to medium, and cook with the lid on for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are set. **Stay close during this step. If you want your yolks runny, you can pass that point very quickly and easily.**
- Once eggs are set to preference, serve over white rice and with fresh chives and extra black pepper.