There is something about a cooked breakfast or brunch that is just the best thing, eaten at any time of day. In actual fact I think that its these things that work best at precisely the wrong time of day, like how amazing cereal is in the evening.
Claudia Roden, in The Book of Jewish Food, writes that ‘[Shakshouka] is used to all kinds of dishes involving fried vegetables with eggs broken on the top. A variety of vegetables, from potatoes and broad beans to artichoke hearts and courgettes, are used in Tunisia, where the dish originated, but it is the version with onions, peppers and tomatoes that has been adopted in Israel as a popular evening meal.’ Claudia Roden is perhaps one of the best food writers there is, but I didn’t use her recipe, rather I took inspiration from it. Also, I have always associated Shakshoua with breakfast, not as an evening meal. There has been a lot of stuff on the tv about Israel lately, and it inspired me to make this dish. I’m sure that its not what the producers of The Promise or Louis Theroux had in mind, but all I can think about is holidays in Israel, and Israeli breakfasts.
This makes enough for about 3-4 eggs. You will need a large frying pan with a lid. As I’m sure you are aware my cooking style is not exact at all – you may want a lot more or less spices in this, its up to you. You can make the sauce in advance, and just reheat it when ready to cook the eggs.
1 Red pepper – chopped into medium-sized chunks
1 medium onion – diced
Can chopped tomatoes
Eggs – 1 or 2 each, depending on how hungry you are
Tomato puree – about a dessert-spoonful
Handful of parsley, chopped
½ tsp Paprika
¼ tsp Chilli powder
½ tsp Cumin
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and pepper on a medium heat. After about 5 minutes, add the spices and fry for about another 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, parsley and tomato puree, season with salt and leave to simmer for at least 15 minutes. The longer the sauce cooks, the richer it will be.
When ready for the eggs, make some spaces in the sauce for each eggs and add one to each hollow, being careful not to split the yolk. Turn the heat up slightly and put the lid on the pan. The eggs will take about 5 minutes to cook, but do keep an eye on them.
When the eggs are as set as you want them to be, grind some black pepper over the top and serve with some crusty bread.
There is also a nice recipe for this in Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam which is much simpler and uses garlic, which would be a great addition. She also notes how great this eaten straight from the pan. I wholeheartedly agree.