Let me just start by saying breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, it also happens to be my favourite meal of the day. Nothing quite beats the sip of your first cup of coffee followed by a nice fruit filled breakfast. I am actually a sweet tooth breakfast person, so this ‘Shakshuka’ thing, I’ll be honest, despite the fact it sounds great and I’ve seen it many a time on café menus, it’s not what I would usually go for at breakfast time. But my boyfriend is the opposite, he loves all things savoury, plus we had some eggs in the fridge that just had to be used so I though, hey why not give it a go.
Shakshuka is something that we can thank the Arabs for introducing, it’s essentially eggs cooked over a rich and spicy tomato sauce. Which, let’s face it, is far more exciting then a greasy fried egg! Plus you get an injection of vitamin goodness from the veg based sauce. I’ve included my recipe below but you can add your own variations, some people prefer to use fresh tomatoes, and can be a great dish to cobble together with any leftover veg, it doesn’t necessarily have to use bell peppers. I think next time around I am going to add a spoon of harissa spices in to add that Tunusian zing I love!
It’s good to take your time over the base of the dish, I like to add my spices in to cook off and release the flavour before I put any of the tomatoes in, but you might have your own methods. It’s a great dish to improvise with as you just need a few spice cabinet staples, a tin of tomatoes and some veg to go with your eggs.
Shakshuka for two
1 tsbp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ red bell pepper, chopped into cubes
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato puree
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp smoked paprika
sprinkle of cayenne
few dashes of tabasco sauce (to taste)
salt and pepper
fresh cut parsley and spring onion to season
- Prepare all the ingredients. Peed and dice the onion, de-seed the pepper and chop into small cubes, peel and crush the garlic.
- Heat up 1 tsbp of olive oil in a medium sized pan and when hot add the onion, let it cook through for a few minutes until starting to lightly brown
- Add in the garlic and the diced pepper, let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the pepper begins to soften
- Stir in the cumin, paprika, smoked paprika and cayenne spices and leave to cook for a minute or so.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and puree and let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper, this is the time to add your tabasco if you’d like a bit more of a kick
- Once the sauce is tasting how you like it and has reduced down a bit it is time to add your eggs, crack each egg into a cup and then make a little well in the sauce to plop it into (I forgot to make a well and my eggs were all over the place). Cover the whole pan over (if you don’t have a lid like me I used a chopping board!)
- Leave this to simmer now for 10-15 minutes, dependent on whether you want your eggs runny or cooked through.
- Lift the lid and now it is time to dish up! Separate in half and serve on two plates, garnish with the fresh parsley and spring onion. I like to serve with a clob of bread to mop up the delicious tomatoey sauce at the bottom!
The shakshuka went down a treat with the other half and I’m definitely a convert, although I think I’d be more inclined to have it for lunch.
PS: I know it’s supposed to be served straight up from the pan! But hey, it was just us two at the table so I went all portion-up with it, sorry purists!Yum