Shakshuka

Recipe 10 minPreparation Time 25 minCooking Time
Shakshuka

Shakshuka

10 minPreparation Time 25 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Even the most unassuming dish can be elevated to a feast-worthy level with the perfect combination of spices. My love for spices started when I was only nine and living in the beautiful coastal city of Mombasa, in Kenya. Once part of the spice route, Mombasa is rich in both its culture and food. Shakshuka means “mixture” in Maghrebi Arabic, and although the precise history of shakshuka is frequently debated, it is believed to have originated in North Africa: Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. My first encounter with shakshuka was in my early adult years, and I vividly remember falling in love with it. In this dish, eggs are gently poached in a thick, aromatic tomato and bell pepper sauce that is delicately spiced with cumin and a hint of fresh chile to tickle your taste buds with its seemingly elusive yet very present punch.

Undoubtedly, shakshuka is one of my all-time favorite breakfast foods as it is simple and quick to prepare. However, I have been known to serve this for dinner on occasion so it’s not just a morning meal for me. My ideal shakshuka borrows a leaf from the Seychelles in the addition of thyme.


Tools & Equipment: Pan with a tight-fitting lid

The Benefits

Eggs are a good source of vitamin D, melatonin, and tryptophan, which all help promote better sleep. Tomatoes are high in melatonin, and bell peppers contain tryptophan, which gets converted to melatonin and supports a good night’s rest. This recipe is high in vitamins A and C and folic acid. Spinach is a good source of magnesium, which can also help you relax before sleep. All the spices in this dish provide powerful antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

Ingredients

Serves 2 to 3
  • 1 Tbsp (10 g) ghee
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) diced onion
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 serrano chile, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup (260 g) chopped tomato
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) tomato paste
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) honey
  • 3 medium-size eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup (17 g) fresh cilantro leaves and stems, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ cup (14 g) baby spinach

Directions

  1. Step 1
    In a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, heat the ghee. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until translucent, stirring often. Add the bell pepper, chile, garlic, cumin, paprika, and thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato and tomato paste. Drizzle with the honey. Cook for 5 -7 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft.
  2. Step 2
    Using a wooden spoon, make 3 wells in the vegetable mixture. Crack 1 egg into each well. Sprinkle with the salt. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the eggs are almost set.
  3. Step 3
    In a blender, combine the oil, cilantro, and spinach and blend on medium speed for 4 minutes. Strain the cilantro oil into a small bowl.
  4. Step 4
    Once the eggs are cooked, divide the shahshuka among bowls and drizzle each bowl with a tablespoon of the cilantro oil. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and paprika , if desired. The remaining cilantro oil can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Substitution: Swap ghee for olive oil to make it a non-dairy recipe, and try pablano peppers instead of bell peppers. 

Level It Up: Using smoked pepper adds a beautiful smokiness to the shakshuka. You can serve with freshly made naan or toasted sourdough bread .

About the author

Vanessa Mehri

Vanessa Mehri

Vanessa, a chef with Swiss roots and a Kenyan upbringing, has crafted two beloved cookbooks that showcase her East African culinary expertise. Her humorous side can be seen on social media where she passionately encourages people to embrace real food and actively works towards reducing food waste.

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