Do you ever just get a food craving that you can’t control? Like nothing else sounds good, and you’d rather not eat anything if you can’t have that…nope?
It might just be me then!
The other day I woke up wanting to eat shakshuka for breakfast. When part of your job essentially consists of looking at images of food all day every day, you kinda become obsessed. Just kinda. But finding good Middle Eastern food in India is proving to be impossible, so the alternative is making it myself.
Shakshouka (Arabic شكشوكة) is a hearty dish of poached eggs in a deliciously spiced tomato sauce with onions, peppers, and garlic. It’s thought to have originated in Tunisia but is part of Egyptian, Libyan, Moroccan and Algerian cuisines. Whoever came up with it, I thank you! The eggs in the dish indicate that it’s a popular breakfast item, but I love my eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so have it whenever you desire with plenty of bread.
In Dubai, I never had to make it at home because it was readily available at Arabic restaurants. I remember the first time I had it for brunch at Cafe Mogador in the East Village…warm, comforting and delicious.
Flash forward to this week…I hopped on my Foodgawker app to find an easy recipe that I could whip up – every single one used canned tomatoes, which I had none of! So I decided to go rogue and wing it and ended up with my very own recipe.
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 medium purple onions, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 green/red pepper, chopped
- 2 spring onions, whites chopped and added to onion pile, greens kept aside for garnish
- 4 eggs
- 4-5 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp basil
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt/ to taste
- Add oil to pan. Saute onions until translucent. Add in garlic and saute for a minute
- Then add in green pepper. Turn heat to low and cover for 5 minutes until peppers are soft
- Add in tomatoes along with tomato paste and spices. Stir to combine. Add in probably ¼ cup of water so the mixture fills the pan. Cover over low heat for 10 minutes till tomatoes are soft.
- Smash tomatoes- add more water if necessary. Taste to check spice/salt levels.
- Break in eggs - cover and cook for 10-15minutes on low until eggs are cooked the way you want. If runny eggs are desired cook for less amount of time.
- Occasionally watch to make sure the sauce hasn't burned
- Sprinkle spring onions & serve hot with warm pita/toast
The chili powder I have is extremely strong, so I always have to use less unless I want to lose feeling in my mouth. So, add more if you want it spicier.
Red/Yellow peppers will have a lighter flavor and add a sweeter taste.
The recipe was perfect for two people, and I ended up having leftovers which I gladly ate for dinner. The next time you’re bored with your breakfast routine, try this recipe for eggs! It’s comfort in a pan.