How to make the traditional North African breakfast dish Shakshuka – The Cavalier Daily

Shakshuka originated in North Africa – the former Ottoman Empire and specifically Tunisia – after tomatoes were introduced to the region through the Colombian exchange. When immigration between Israel and North African countries was high and immigrants suffered financially, the hearty and affordable Shakshuka quickly became a staple. Not only was this dish an affordable option, but it was also extremely easy to prepare. Shakshuka translates to “mixed” which reflects how the dish is prepared. It’s basically poached eggs cooked in a tomato stew with vegetables and other spices tossed into a saucepan, which is then cooked over low heat until it reaches the desired consistency.

I first discovered Shakshuka last fall at a cafe called Tatte Bakery & Café in Washington, DC and since then Shakshuka has become one of my favorite dishes to make – I even bought a pin in “shakshuka” enamel. Tatte was founded by Tzurit Or, a self-taught pastry chef who grew up in Israel. Her Jewish roots and the popularity of shakshuka in Israel probably inspired her to add this delicious dish to the menu.

It is very popular in the Middle East and you will find many variations of it in Israel and Egypt. It was known that Jewish citizens living in the Ottoman Maghreb would make a vegetarian variant of the dish while Tunisian Jews would make the spicy version with eggs. Personally, I like to use eggs in my Shakshuka as it adds a heartier aspect to the dish.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1-2 green peppers (chopped)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ⅛ c. ground cayenne pepper
  • 28 ounces chopped tomatoes
  • 5 ounces of feta (crumbled)
  • 6 large eggs
  • Chopped cilantro to serve

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet.
  3. Cook and mix for about 20 minutes. Cook until onion and pepper are tender.
  4. After that, add your garlic and mix with the vegetables.
  5. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until tender.
  6. Stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper to taste.
  7. Cook the vegetables and spices for 1 minute.
  8. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Simmer for about 10 minutes – until the tomatoes thicken.
  10. Stir the crumbled feta evenly into the stew.
  11. Now add your eggs, breaking them evenly into the pan.
  12. Cover the pan for the egg to cook – I only cover mine for a minute or two because I prefer my eggs to have a more runny consistency.

The feta cheese adds the perfect amount of sharpness to the otherwise fresh taste of the tomato and other vegetables. Last time I made this dish, I also added vegan ground beef – made with soy – which added a meaty texture, which I personally enjoy. This authentic dish is not only healthy and hearty, but it’s also a dish full of spices and flavors bursting with every bite.

A good side that goes well with Shakshuka is pita bread, which is also native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Some other recommended sides that go well with Shakshuka are red pepper hummus, roasted cauliflower hummus, and carrot and turmeric hummus! Whether or not you decide to include these sides, this dish will be perfect for the cold season and a great way to start your day as a traditional breakfast. So hurry to your kitchen to whip up this simple one skillet dish, perfect for a hot and hearty breakfast or brunch.

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