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Tunisian chakchouka recipe

Tunisian chakchouka recipe


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  • Breakfast
  • Brunch

Chakchouka (or Shakshouka) is a Tunisian dish of tomatoes, onions, pepper, spices and eggs. It's popular throughout North Africa and Israel. It is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, but it's tasty anytime! Serve with crusty bread.

96 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 pepper, thinly sliced (any colour)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or to taste
  • 450g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
  • 4 eggs

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, peppers and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables have softened and the onion has turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, salt and chilli into a bowl and mix briefly. Pour the tomato mixture into the frying pan, and stir to combine.
  3. Simmer, uncovered, until the tomato juices have cooked off, about 10 minutes. Make four indentations in the tomato mixture for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the indentations. Cover the frying pan and let the eggs cook until they're firm but not dry, about 5 minutes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(219)

Reviews in English (151)

made this 3 times , the 2nd and 3rd times , I added some diced vegetarian sausage and chopped mushrooms - beautiful , even my friends kids liked it-12 Oct 2017

Absolutely delicious, I will definitely be making this one again. Thanks for sharing.-13 May 2017

by Chef4Him

This came out wonderful. I love savory breakfasts and this really hits the spot! I multiplied by about 10 and used 36 eggs. Our staff really enjoyed it. Thank you!-27 Sep 2010


Tunisian Couscous

Couscous is a staple in most Maghreb cuisines. It is known as the national dish in Tunisia, but also in Algeria and Morocco, as well as Mauritania and Libya. Tunisian couscous is one of the countless variations of this delicious and versatile dish.

It is thought that the original name of couscous (Arabic: كسكس) could have come from the Arabic word kaskasa, which means “to pound in small pieces” or from the Berber word seksu, which means “rounded” or “well rolled”.

It is called kousksi in Tunisia, taam, kosksi or kesksu in Algeria, seksu in Morocco, and maftoul in Jordan and Lebanon. It is also used in Sicily where it is known as cuscusu.

Couscous is made from small durum semolina balls that are crushed and steamed.

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Where does couscous come from?

The origin of couscous is not very clear. It is thought that it might have been invented by the Berbers, as early as the 3rd century AD. Primitive couscous steamers dating from the reign of the Berber king Massinissa were found in Algeria.

Other sources say that couscous was born between the end of the Zirid dynasty (Berber dynasty from central Maghreb) and the beginning of the Almohad caliphate around the twelfth century.

Other historians have proved that the method of cooking couscous, which consists of cooking the semolina over water or broth, in a special pot (couscoussier), may date back to the 10th century and could have started in the West African regions of the Kingdom of Sudan, today’s Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Even today, in parts of Guinea and Senegal, recipes that are based on millet couscous with meat or peanut sauce are still popular.

In the 13th century, a Syrian historian from Aleppo referred to couscous in his work, confirming that couscous had spread fairly quickly, mainly from the former Libyan province of Tripolitania to the west.

Couscous is also popular in West Africa, as well as in Central Africa, and has even spread to the southern Turkish provinces from Syria around the sixteenth century.

Note that couscous was originally prepared with millet and not wheat. Most historians believe that the transition to wheat occurred in the 20th century, although there are still many areas that use millet to make couscous.

Couscous is traditionally steamed in a couscous steamer (couscoussier) to produce softer, larger grains. Nowadays, the couscous grain (semolina) that is sold in most supermarkets in the western world is pre-steamed and then dried.

Precooked couscous, also known as instant couscous, takes less time to prepare than traditional couscous, and is almost as good, although purists will easily notice the difference.

The different couscous recipes

Couscous is also the name of the recipe made with the semolina of the same name. There are a multitude of North African couscous recipes, including vegetarian, meat (beef, lamb, etc), chicken, fish, seafood and even butter couscous (couscous au beurre).

The version presented here is the Tunisian version. There are also as many versions as families or regions in Tunisia. However, Tunisian couscous has some characteristics that differentiate it from Algerian and Moroccan couscous.

First, the Tunisian couscous sauce is always red, because of the tomato or tomato sauce that is used.

The “white” sauce, which is often used in Algerian couscous (in areas not close to the Tunisia border), does not include tomatoes, but rather spices such as cinnamon.

While white sauce couscous can be found in Algeria and Morocco, there is hardly any in Tunisia. In Morocco, there are also more sweet versions such as couscous seffa, a couscous dish with almonds and raisins or couscous tfaya with caramelized onions and raisins.

Among the Tunisian versions, you will find the couscous barbouche, a typical dish of southern Tunisia, prepared with tripe and herbs (cilantro, parsley), and served traditionally with hard-boiled eggs.

The couscous with grouper (couscous au mérou) is a couscous with the typically Tunisian fish which you can also find in Sicily. The fish couscous, or sékssou bel hout (سكسو بالحوت), is a traditional couscous of the region of Sfax in Tunisia, but also from Moroccan cities on the Atlantic coast.

When preparing a meat couscous, it is important to choose only one meat. Indeed, the couscous is steamed with the vegetable and meat broth, and this broth should give the aroma of only one meat.

It is for this reason that the “couscous royal”, a French invention that generally includes several meats, is absolutely not traditional in the Maghreb. Some couscous recipes from North Africa add merguez, but most traditional couscous are prepared with only one meat.

Couscous can also be prepared with several spices, and spice blends. In Tunisia, tabel is the preferred spice blend. It usually includes coriander, caraway, garlic and chili powder at a minimum.

There is also ras el hanout, a spice blend from the Maghreb whose recipes also vary but which often include spices such as cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon or coriander.

In Tunisian Jewish homes, the couscous that is prepared for Shabbat is often served with meatballs. These meatballs are quite unique and characteristic of Tunisian Jewish cuisine.

These meatballs are prepared with ground beef, stale bread (rehydrated), and various spices including crushed rose petals. Each oblong meatball is made with one piece of cut vegetable that may include potato, celery, zucchini or artichoke. They are breaded and then fried. They can be served as is or cooked slowly with the couscous broth.

Since most people do not own a couscous steamer (couscoussier), I am sharing a couscous recipe where the couscous semolina is prepared separately instead of being steamed at the top of the double boiler.

However, it is important to impregnate the semolina with the broth at least an hour before serving so that the semolina has time to absorb the aromas of the meat and vegetables broth.

This couscous recipe is validated by our expert in Tunisian cuisine, Chef Mounir Arem. Chef Mounir is the chef-owner of the restaurant Le Baroque in Tunis.


Chakchouka Recipe


Chakchouka or shakshouka is a style of vegetable cooking from the Middle East and the Mahgreb (the North African countries bordering the Mediterranean especially in Algeria and Tunisia. Chakchouka is popular as a breakfast dish. Most recipes include the eggs, but they can actually be left out if you like.

  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 Green and red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Eggs (optional)
  • Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Stir in the paprika and cook slighly to color the oil, about 10-15 seconds. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and wilted but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes to reduce down a little bit. Add the peppers, water and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep it from drying out.
  • Using a spoon, form four small indentations in the simmering peppers to hold the eggs. One by one, crack the eggs into a small bowl and slip each from the bowl into an indentation. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until eggs are cooked through.
  • Serve with crusty bread, pita or rice.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seed to the hot oil for about 15 seconds before you add the paprika. Add 2-3 teaspoons of ground coriander along with the onions.
  • For a little spice, sauté 1 tablespoon of harissa paste or a minced chile pepper with the onions.
  • Sometimes fresh shrimp or a spicy lamb sausage called merguez is added to the simmering peppers along with the eggs.
  • Add 1 small, diced eggplant along with the peppers.
  • Add 1 potato, cut in a small dice, along with the peppers.
  • Sprinkle the top of the cooked dish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
  • Add a few olives and capers and eliminate the eggs. Chill and serve garnished with hard-boiled eggs or tuna.

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Tunisian Shakshouka

Weekends are fabulous for sleeping in, waking up by the body clock and leisurely getting out of bed for a delicious brunch. My guilty pleasure is enjoying an espresso in bed, while browsing on the iPad.

Shakshouka, also spelled shakshuka and chakchouka is a pepper, tomato and spices ragout in which eggs are poached. The dish originates from Tunisia yet many countries in the Middle East have adapted it as their own.

This version of Tunisian Shakshouka uses Harissa which is a concentrated hot pepper paste which gives the dish a bit of heat but you can omit it if you can’t eat hot and spicy food. The red peppers/ capsicums can be cooked with the tomatoes and spices ahead of time, or the day before, then reheated before the eggs are added.

You can cook the eggs in a saucepan or in the oven. The cooking time depends on how you like your eggs. I like them just cooked for that moment of egg porn when you cut into it. Serve with a slice of toasted sourdough bread and you’re still within the carb allowance. Shakshouka is similar to the Mediterranean dish, ratatouille and piperade.

Eating Brunch while on the insulin resistance diet means you’ll skip a meal, in this case lunch, but this dish is rich and filling and it will tide you over until it’s time for an afternoon snack.


Ojja (Shakshuka) with Merguez

Some call it ojja, others call it shakshuka, shakshouka, shakshoukeh, jazz-mazz, or makhlama. Here is a dish that appears in the hit parade of Tunisian cuisine.

The basis of shakshuka is simple: tomato, peppers, onion, garlic, spices, all topped with eggs that will be, according to taste, poached, well cooked, or in between. Some bake it in the oven. Others cook it on the stove.

Shakshuka interpretations may vary and for me, today, it will be a shakshuka with merguez!

What does shakshuka (Hebrew: שקשוקה) mean?

The word comes from the Arabic word “mix” and the dish itself probably started like this: a clever mix in a pan or tajine like a lot of dishes where you mix a little bit of everything like a ratatouille, minestrone, or gazpacho, to name a few.

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Where does shakshuka come from?

Everyone will try to claim the paternity of this widely popular dish. However, the majority of food historians seem to agree that shakshuka is a North African dish, originating from Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Algeria.

Even though shakshuka is ubiquitous in Israel, it was introduced to Israeli cuisine by North African Jews who immigrated to the Holy Land.

The Tunisian Jews brought with them their deliciously spicy egg dish. And the Algerian, Libyan and Moroccan Jews did it too, but in a less spicy version. This is surely what explains the many versions of this dish in Israel.

Another version of the story says that shakshuka may come from the Ottoman Empire and spread to Spain and the Middle East. This version is corroborated by a Turkish dish called menamen, which looks very similar to shakshuka.

The Spanish pisto manchego, a dish of tomatoes and eggplants with eggs on top, just like shakshuka, has a lot of similarities but it is not possible to establish with certainty if this pisto manchego has its origins in Ottoman cuisine or in the cuisines of North Africa.

Sciakisciuka, a dish from the small island of Pantelleria, located between Sicily and Tunisia, is also a perfect example of a recipe that not only looks like shakshuka but also bears a very similar name.

So, ojja or shakshuka? Why two names in Tunisia?

Some Tunisian purists will say that ojja is prepared only with garlic and without onion and that shakshuka is prepared with both. And others will say that it’s exactly the same thing.

In her book “The new Mediterranean Jewish table: Old world recipes for the modern home”, the author, Joyce Goldstein, suggests that the difference between ojja and shakshuka is that in the ojja, the eggs are mixed with the tomato sauce, while in the shakshuka, they are poached on the surface. This would make ojja the twin of the Turkish dish called menemen.

Shakshuka has become one of the most delicious dishes of traditional Israeli cuisine today, and even a mainstay of this cuisine. It is consumed for breakfast, lunch or dinner and many consider it one of the tastiest dishes.

In Israel, shakshuka has become wildly popular in the last 20 years. There are also several restaurants in the country where shakshuka can be found in all its forms.

This rise is partly thanks to Mr. Bino Gabso, also known as “Dr. Shakshouka”.

Bino Gabso / בינו גבסו (born in 1952) is an Israeli restaurateur known to the public as “Dr. Shakshouka” and owner of the famous restaurant chain of the same name. Gabso is from Tripoli, Libya.

Dr. Shakshuka is an institution in Israel. Bino Gabso started with the Tripolitan version of shakshuka and has been serving it for more than 20 years. In the traditional tripolitan version, there is no onion but just garlic and cumin as only spices.

Yotham Ottolonghi, the famous Israeli-British chef also put shakshuka on the map in the late 2000s.

In Israel, people prepare shakshuka of all kinds. Some add eggplants, or mushrooms, others mix sausages and merguez, or serve it on a bed of hummus, a version of the dish that is very famous in the country, and that is called hmsokh.

There is also the shakshuka with feta which is called “shakshuka of the Balkans”, and is pretty much the same as Bulgarian mish-mash.

The Italians also have their version of the shakshuka. Indeed, in the south of Italy, a dish called “eggs in hell” (uova all’inferno) or “eggs in purgatory” (uova al purgatorio), very similar to shakshuka, is prepared with a spicy tomato sauce seasoned with basil with eggs also placed and cooked on top.

The essential ingredient of the shakshuka is tomato and, of course, it is recommended to use fresh ones. It seems that the Tunisians have more appetite when they “see red” on their plate! This explains the presence of tomato and/or tomato paste and harissa on a number of their plates.

The importance of tomatoes in Tunisian cuisine

In Tunisia, tomato cultivation covers an average area of 111 square miles per year, with an average production of about 1.4 million tons.

About 600 000 tons of tomatoes are used for the production of the tomato concentrate and 20 000 tons for the production of canned tomatoes.

As for this famous tomato concentrate or paste, which is used in almost all Tunisian dishes, every Tunisian consumes more than 20 lb per year!

Tunisians also prepare a lot of their tomato paste at home.

The tomato paste comes from southern Italy and Malta. The traditional preparation is to spread the tomatoes on wooden boards all summer to get the concentrate by evaporation.

6 lb (3 kg) of fresh tomatoes are required to obtain 1 lb (500 g) of double concentrate and 9 lb (4 kg) of fresh tomatoes for the triple concentrate.

Moroccans call it tchouktchouka. However, the Moroccan tchouktchouka is prepared without pepper and only with garlic. The tomato sauce is flavored with paprika and in Morocco. usually only a pinch of cumin is placed on each egg yolk. As for the chili pepper, it’s according to your taste. The traditional Moroccan tchouktchouka may be spicy or not.

This recipe is validated by our expert in Tunisian cuisine, Chef Mounir Arem. Chef Mounir is the chef-owner of the restaurant Le Baroque in Tunis.


Chakchouka (or Shakshouka) is a Tunisian dish of tomatoes, onions, pepper, spices and eggs. It's popular throughout North Africa and Israel. It is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, but it's tasty anytime! Serve with crusty bread.

A dish I developed for a food course. Doesn't take too long to make and is a nice alternative to every day meals! All the family will love it.


About the Recipe

Certainly all three naming theories lend credence to how the recipe is actually prepared. At its core essence, shakshouka consists of eggs poached in a vegetable ragout that is heavily spiced and very powerful in flavor.

The base of the ragout usually starts with tomatoes, garlic, onions and green bell peppers. These ingredients are fried in olive oil and are broken down to form the ragout, at which point spices and additional flavors are added. In some areas of Tunisia and elsewhere, shakshouka might be also made with zucchini, potatoes, beans and/or artichoke hearts, but these are more optional enhancements to the base requisite ingredients.

In a dish like shakshouka, the types of spices you choose will have a particularly great influence over the final outcome of the dish. The most common spices used here will be cumin, paprika and black pepper, in that order, but additional regional spices like harissa or ras el hanout can also be used. Again, the choices here will affect the ragout that poaches the egg and brings together the final dish.

Finally, the eggs are added to the pan on top of the ragout. One fun (and aesthetically appeasing) tactic to use here would be to create little wells where the egg can fall into and from where the egg white can permeate through the rest of the dish. Once the egg is added, though, you will cover the pan and let the eggs poach in the ragout and steam until cooked and the shakshouka is ready to eat.

When serving, shakshouka is most traditionally eaten with bread, which can be especially helpful to mop up runny yolks. Merguez, or spicy sausage, is also a very common and tasty accompaniment to eat alongside shakshouka as well.


Shakshouka – Tunisian-Jewish Comfort Food (by Reader Request)

We have our first reader contribution! JD Hammond, a friend and urban planner extraordinaire, had some questions about shakshouka, a North African dish imported to Israel by Tunisian Jews in the 1950s. It comprises a vegetable ragout in which eggs are poached. Specifically, JD wants to know (paraphrased):

  1. How do we make it? He has made it before, but wants to know another recipe.
  2. How do we make it so pretty – specifically, regarding the eggs?
  3. How did this dish with this “remarkable intensity” of flavors evolve?

Shakshouka, celebrated in Israel as a “breakfast of champions,” has its origins in North Africa. The word comes from a Tamazight word for “vegetable sauce,” and eggs were added later by the Arab populations of North Africa. The dish later spread across the Arab world – from Iraq to Morocco – and became popular among the Jews of the region as well. In fact, shakshouka is still considered quintessential home cooking in Tunisia today. As this article states (in French), “try to tell a Tunisian at your risk and peril that shakshouka is an Israeli or American dish!” Yet it has come in many minds to be associated with Israel.

Shakshouka with bread, September 2014. Photo mine.

In the 1950s, Tunisian Jews brought the dish to the Israel which they immigrated to – and were, by and large, unwelcome in. (As it happens, a variant of the dish is also popular among Palestinians.) Shakshouka spread from the peripheral towns into Israeli cities, where – like other Arab Jewish and Arab dishes – it was appropriated and adopted into an Israeli national icon. Rather than admit the origins of the dish, a new etymology for the dish’s name, as originating from the Hebrew leshaqsheq (to shake), emerged. North Africans – Jews and Muslims alike – continue to make this dish in their own way, separate from the Israeli adaptation. Meanwhile, as more Israelis moved abroad in the 1980s, the dish became popular in the United States and Canada, and became the hipster breakfast du jour in recent years.

Peppers – bell and chili – chopped and awaiting their shakshouka fate. November 2015. Photo mine.

Of course, the way the dish has become popular is less than appealing – Ashkenazi Israelis “borrowing” the dishes of North African Jews and Palestinians whose cultures they sought to erase, then calling it their own. In addition, many argue that those such as myself who are post-Zionist should eschew the “Israeli” for the “diasporan.” Yet shakshouka is also a very clear example of how diaspora works, and how diaspora affects what we eat. Firstly, I would like to note that this dish was consumed in the Jewish diaspora for centuries before the state of Israel was even imagined – how is shakshouka not a food of “diaspora”? Secondly, I do not think that we can run away from Israel or misdeeds there if we are to explore Jewish food and its history – given that Israel, like it or not, looms large over Jewish life around the world. Finally, I think we can still enjoy the remarkable mix of flavors shakshouka provides while acknowledging its North African origins.

Tomatoes, peppers and chilis, onions, and spices laid out for cooking. November 2015, photo mine.

Indeed, shakshouka is versatile, intense, and remarkable. The vegetables’ softness and peppers’ spice meld against the egg yolk and firm whites to create an experience that seems simple but is so very complex: no two bites are the same. It is also versatile: the variations are legion, from the simple varieties encouraged on Tunisian expatriate forums to the complex, cheese-laden ones that have become popular on certain upscale food blogs. My friend David, who was familiar with the latter, found the recipe I used “lazy” – but in a good way, in that it is simple. Indeed, shakshouka can be and often is simple. That is key to its beauty – and it is what drew JD into wanting to make it.

Onions and spices – key in the flavor base of the shakshouka. November 2015, photo mine.

JD’s biggest question was “how can you poach the eggs and keep them intact, without babysitting them?” I have bad news: you do really need to “babysit them.” Eggs are fragile and finicky creatures, and if you are attached to having a delightfully runny yolk and/or an aesthetic shakshouka, you will need to keep an eye on them. I advise that you make a well in the sauce, crack the egg in, and then carefully fold the whites into the sauce. You need to watch to make sure the eggs don’t overcook, and that they get in in the first place. Practice makes perfect! See the recipe for more information.

Right after dropping the eggs in – the ones dropped first are beginning to cook but this is where folding and “babysitting” are key! There is no lazy way with eggs in shakshouka. November 2015, photo mine. [Apologies for the rather ugly quality of this photo.] Spicing and vegetable chopping are also frequent questions with shakshouka. Different regions have different textures for chopping vegetables and length of time the ragout is cooked, which affects the “softness” of the sauce. Some add peppers, some do not. Some use very piquant and hot spices, whereas others prefer a milder dish. In Tunisian recipes, the ragout tends to rely on more roughly chopped fresh vegetables and sinus-destroying spice, whereas Israeli and Palestinian adaptations tend to be finer. I stick with a fiery, rough shakshouka, but JD himself has globalized the recipe with a variant involving Sriracha chili sauce and cayenne pepper.

Eating the shakshouka – I had already dug in before Amram reminded me to take a picture for you guys! The bread is a typical pita. November 2015, photo mine.

The shakshouka here is closer to the variant common in Tunisia than that common in Israel. One common ingredient in an Israeli shakshouka is tomato paste (the canned stuff), an ingredient I abhor in most circumstances, which often tends to become quite globby in the frying process. Tunisian shakshouka relies largely on fresh tomatoes (or canned, but not paste), and often uses a wonderfully larger amount of cilantro – my favorite spice. My recipe is based on two Tunisian recipes and one by Einat Admony, the Israeli genius-chef behind Balaboosta, one of New York’s most fantastic restaurants.

Based on an amalgam of the recipes of Orly Olivier, Marmiton (French), and Einat Admony. I make several variations of this recipe.

Serves 2-6, depending on your hunger level and stomach size

3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped into one-two inch rectangles or squares

1-3 small hot chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped – the amount you use depends on the spice level of the pepper and your own tolerance I tend to stick with three smaller habaneros

4 plum tomatoes, diced or chopped

1-2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil (olive is better)

1 tbsp vinegar (many vinegars work)

1 tbsp garlic powder or 1 clove crushed fresh garlic

Bread for serving (optional)

  1. Chop up your vegetables. I am including this as a separate step for this recipe because this is very important factor to budget into your time.
  2. Heat a large frying pan, shallow wide saucepan, or similar pan, and add the oil. Then, add the onions and sauté until soft.
  3. Add the peppers (bell and chili) and continue sautéing. If you are using fresh garlic, add it here.
  4. When the peppers begin to soften, add the salt, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, oregano, thyme, and rosemary and mix in thoroughly. Keep sautéing.
  5. After a minute or so, add the vinegar. Sauté for another minute.
  6. Add the tomatoes and mix in thoroughly. Sauté for a few minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the water and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, and the skin has separated from the tomatoes’ fleshy part. The water should have mostly cooked down by this point.
  7. When the tomatoes and peppers are cooked until soft, it is time to add the eggs. Make six wells in the tomato-pepper mixture and crack an egg into each one. Then carefully tuck the whites of the eggs into the surrounding tomato-pepper mixture, being careful to leave the yolk alone. If you want your eggs to be super pretty, I would suggest cracking them first into a cup or several cups individually, then putting them in the shakshouka. You will need to “babysit” your eggs – the whites can be finicky. If you want your yolks solid, crack the yolk *after* folding in the whites. If your wells are deep enough, folding should be fairly simple – just push the tomato-pepper mix over the whites!

You should still have a little white visible on top, because…

  1. When the whites are cooked through and solid, your shakshouka is ready. Remove from the heat and serve as soon as possible. Serving in the pan and having folks dig in and help themselves is the easiest, but a wide spoon does the trick and keeps the eggs intact. I prefer to serve shakshouka with warm bread.

Author’s note: if you have leftover chili peppers, I heartily recommend trying the A Fiery Law cocktail, a brilliant creation by my friend, the “Kiddush Club President” of Tippling Through The Torah.


Chakchouka – A Tunisian dish of tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices, and eggs. With or without a Thermomix

Traditionally eaten for breakfast in North Africa, this spicy and colourful pepper, onions and tomato stew with eggs baked on top make a lovely and very healthy dinner or an impressive dinner party dish.

This is a very easy recipe but don’t be fooled, the flavours are amazing and very rich.

Before you start, note that ideally your peppers and tomatoes will need to be peeled. I personally use this tomato peeler.

Serve with a crusty bread or pitta bread to sponge off the sauce, couscous or even rice. I also sometimes serve it with merguez sausages.

* To ensure Momo & the Gang remains completely free to use, this post may contain affiliate links.

Can be frozen

Gluten free

Active time: 7 minutes – Total time: 53 minutes – cost: £7.15

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves – £0.10
  • 1 onion – £0.10
  • 1 tbsp olive oil – £0.03
  • 2 red peppers – £1.00
  • 2 green peppers – £1.00
  • 2 yellow peppers – £1.00
  • 6 tomatoes – £1.08
  • 1 tsp caster sugar – £0.05
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste – £0.05
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder – £0.05
  • 1 tsp cumin – £0.03
  • 1 tsp paprika – £0.03
  • 1 tsp ground coriander – £0.03
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
  • 100g feta cheese (optional) – £0.70
  • 4 eggs – £0.55
  • Some coriander to serve – £0.35
  1. Add one onion, halved and 2 garlic cloves to the mixing bowl. Chop for 5 seconds / speed 5. Scrape down the sides.
  2. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook for 3 minutes / 100C / speed 1.
  3. Ideally peel the peppers (this is the peeler I use), before slicing them. Add the slices to the bowl. Cook for 20 minutes / 100C / Reverse speed low.
  4. Preheat your oven to 170C.
  5. Ideally peel the tomatoes with a tomato peeler (this is the one I use), cut them in 4, scoops the seeds out and add the seedless tomatoes to the bowl with 1 heaped tsp caster sugar, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cook for 25 minutes / 100C / Reverse speed low.
  6. Pour the vegetables in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Crack in 4 eggs. Bake in the oven for 3 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with a crusty bread or pitta bread to sponge off the sauce, couscous or even rice. I also sometimes serve it with merguez sausages.

To Freeze: after step 5, let cool down and freeze. Once defrosted, proceed to step 6.


Shakshouka – Tunisian-Jewish Comfort Food (by Reader Request)

We have our first reader contribution! JD Hammond, a friend and urban planner extraordinaire, had some questions about shakshouka, a North African dish imported to Israel by Tunisian Jews in the 1950s. It comprises a vegetable ragout in which eggs are poached. Specifically, JD wants to know (paraphrased):

  1. How do we make it? He has made it before, but wants to know another recipe.
  2. How do we make it so pretty – specifically, regarding the eggs?
  3. How did this dish with this “remarkable intensity” of flavors evolve?

Shakshouka, celebrated in Israel as a “breakfast of champions,” has its origins in North Africa. The word comes from a Tamazight word for “vegetable sauce,” and eggs were added later by the Arab populations of North Africa. The dish later spread across the Arab world – from Iraq to Morocco – and became popular among the Jews of the region as well. In fact, shakshouka is still considered quintessential home cooking in Tunisia today. As this article states (in French), “try to tell a Tunisian at your risk and peril that shakshouka is an Israeli or American dish!” Yet it has come in many minds to be associated with Israel.

Shakshouka with bread, September 2014. Photo mine.

In the 1950s, Tunisian Jews brought the dish to the Israel which they immigrated to – and were, by and large, unwelcome in. (As it happens, a variant of the dish is also popular among Palestinians.) Shakshouka spread from the peripheral towns into Israeli cities, where – like other Arab Jewish and Arab dishes – it was appropriated and adopted into an Israeli national icon. Rather than admit the origins of the dish, a new etymology for the dish’s name, as originating from the Hebrew leshaqsheq (to shake), emerged. North Africans – Jews and Muslims alike – continue to make this dish in their own way, separate from the Israeli adaptation. Meanwhile, as more Israelis moved abroad in the 1980s, the dish became popular in the United States and Canada, and became the hipster breakfast du jour in recent years.

Peppers – bell and chili – chopped and awaiting their shakshouka fate. November 2015. Photo mine.

Of course, the way the dish has become popular is less than appealing – Ashkenazi Israelis “borrowing” the dishes of North African Jews and Palestinians whose cultures they sought to erase, then calling it their own. In addition, many argue that those such as myself who are post-Zionist should eschew the “Israeli” for the “diasporan.” Yet shakshouka is also a very clear example of how diaspora works, and how diaspora affects what we eat. Firstly, I would like to note that this dish was consumed in the Jewish diaspora for centuries before the state of Israel was even imagined – how is shakshouka not a food of “diaspora”? Secondly, I do not think that we can run away from Israel or misdeeds there if we are to explore Jewish food and its history – given that Israel, like it or not, looms large over Jewish life around the world. Finally, I think we can still enjoy the remarkable mix of flavors shakshouka provides while acknowledging its North African origins.

Tomatoes, peppers and chilis, onions, and spices laid out for cooking. November 2015, photo mine.

Indeed, shakshouka is versatile, intense, and remarkable. The vegetables’ softness and peppers’ spice meld against the egg yolk and firm whites to create an experience that seems simple but is so very complex: no two bites are the same. It is also versatile: the variations are legion, from the simple varieties encouraged on Tunisian expatriate forums to the complex, cheese-laden ones that have become popular on certain upscale food blogs. My friend David, who was familiar with the latter, found the recipe I used “lazy” – but in a good way, in that it is simple. Indeed, shakshouka can be and often is simple. That is key to its beauty – and it is what drew JD into wanting to make it.

Onions and spices – key in the flavor base of the shakshouka. November 2015, photo mine.

JD’s biggest question was “how can you poach the eggs and keep them intact, without babysitting them?” I have bad news: you do really need to “babysit them.” Eggs are fragile and finicky creatures, and if you are attached to having a delightfully runny yolk and/or an aesthetic shakshouka, you will need to keep an eye on them. I advise that you make a well in the sauce, crack the egg in, and then carefully fold the whites into the sauce. You need to watch to make sure the eggs don’t overcook, and that they get in in the first place. Practice makes perfect! See the recipe for more information.

Right after dropping the eggs in – the ones dropped first are beginning to cook but this is where folding and “babysitting” are key! There is no lazy way with eggs in shakshouka. November 2015, photo mine. [Apologies for the rather ugly quality of this photo.] Spicing and vegetable chopping are also frequent questions with shakshouka. Different regions have different textures for chopping vegetables and length of time the ragout is cooked, which affects the “softness” of the sauce. Some add peppers, some do not. Some use very piquant and hot spices, whereas others prefer a milder dish. In Tunisian recipes, the ragout tends to rely on more roughly chopped fresh vegetables and sinus-destroying spice, whereas Israeli and Palestinian adaptations tend to be finer. I stick with a fiery, rough shakshouka, but JD himself has globalized the recipe with a variant involving Sriracha chili sauce and cayenne pepper.

Eating the shakshouka – I had already dug in before Amram reminded me to take a picture for you guys! The bread is a typical pita. November 2015, photo mine.

The shakshouka here is closer to the variant common in Tunisia than that common in Israel. One common ingredient in an Israeli shakshouka is tomato paste (the canned stuff), an ingredient I abhor in most circumstances, which often tends to become quite globby in the frying process. Tunisian shakshouka relies largely on fresh tomatoes (or canned, but not paste), and often uses a wonderfully larger amount of cilantro – my favorite spice. My recipe is based on two Tunisian recipes and one by Einat Admony, the Israeli genius-chef behind Balaboosta, one of New York’s most fantastic restaurants.

Based on an amalgam of the recipes of Orly Olivier, Marmiton (French), and Einat Admony. I make several variations of this recipe.

Serves 2-6, depending on your hunger level and stomach size

3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped into one-two inch rectangles or squares

1-3 small hot chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped – the amount you use depends on the spice level of the pepper and your own tolerance I tend to stick with three smaller habaneros

4 plum tomatoes, diced or chopped

1-2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil (olive is better)

1 tbsp vinegar (many vinegars work)

1 tbsp garlic powder or 1 clove crushed fresh garlic

Bread for serving (optional)

  1. Chop up your vegetables. I am including this as a separate step for this recipe because this is very important factor to budget into your time.
  2. Heat a large frying pan, shallow wide saucepan, or similar pan, and add the oil. Then, add the onions and sauté until soft.
  3. Add the peppers (bell and chili) and continue sautéing. If you are using fresh garlic, add it here.
  4. When the peppers begin to soften, add the salt, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, oregano, thyme, and rosemary and mix in thoroughly. Keep sautéing.
  5. After a minute or so, add the vinegar. Sauté for another minute.
  6. Add the tomatoes and mix in thoroughly. Sauté for a few minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the water and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, and the skin has separated from the tomatoes’ fleshy part. The water should have mostly cooked down by this point.
  7. When the tomatoes and peppers are cooked until soft, it is time to add the eggs. Make six wells in the tomato-pepper mixture and crack an egg into each one. Then carefully tuck the whites of the eggs into the surrounding tomato-pepper mixture, being careful to leave the yolk alone. If you want your eggs to be super pretty, I would suggest cracking them first into a cup or several cups individually, then putting them in the shakshouka. You will need to “babysit” your eggs – the whites can be finicky. If you want your yolks solid, crack the yolk *after* folding in the whites. If your wells are deep enough, folding should be fairly simple – just push the tomato-pepper mix over the whites!

You should still have a little white visible on top, because…

  1. When the whites are cooked through and solid, your shakshouka is ready. Remove from the heat and serve as soon as possible. Serving in the pan and having folks dig in and help themselves is the easiest, but a wide spoon does the trick and keeps the eggs intact. I prefer to serve shakshouka with warm bread.

Author’s note: if you have leftover chili peppers, I heartily recommend trying the A Fiery Law cocktail, a brilliant creation by my friend, the “Kiddush Club President” of Tippling Through The Torah.


Watch the video: Συνταγή - ΚΟΥΣΚΟΥΣ το ταχύτατο (June 2022).


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