February 7, 2010 • ariel
Nosh and Tel Aviv- Shakshuka
Hello everyone! This is my third installment of Nosh and Tel Aviv! Today I want to talk about Shakshuka or שקשוקה in Hebrew. I had this dish a few days ago at a great little cafe and I thought it would be an interesting topic to blog on since I’ve never seen it anywhere but here!
The dish is of North African origin and contains two staple ingredients- eggs, hot sauce/spices tomatoes, as well as the optional onions, red peppers, potatoes, leeks and even sausages. Like you can see in the pictures below, Shakshuka is always served in the pan that it is cooked in along with copious amounts of pita, or thickly sliced bread to mop up all those delicious juices.
Shakshuka Basic Recipe- adapted by Janna Gur’s book, The Book of New Israeli Food.
4 tbs oil
2 cloves garlic
5 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
mixture of crushed garlic, hot peppers and paprika*
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato pasta
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
pinch of ground caraway (optional)
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic. Add in the tomatoes and seasoning and cook for about 20 minutes over low heat and partially covered. Add the tomato paste and adjust spices as needed. * Janna says you can also use Zhug, Filfel Chuma, or Harissa in the recipe as a substitute for the crushed garlic, paprika and hot peppers. I think you should whichever spices you prefer. I’m guessing that in the US, the latter option will be the easiest to find. Break eggs into the pan one by one and slide onto the tomato sauce. Turn heat on low and cook until the egg whites are cooked through (5-7 minutes). DONE! SERVE.
I haven’t made this dish myself yet, but I thought that sharing this recipe might inspire you all to try cooking some new food and to utilize new spices. Janna Gur’s cookbook is really amazing. Her words have become my own personal scripture as she provides not only recipes, but also historic background on Israeli food. I suggest you pick up a copy if you can!
And what does it taste like? It definitely has a very particular flavor. Of the times that I have had it here, it has been very spicy- not in an eye watering sort of way, but definitely spicy for my lil tastebuds. The overarching flavor is tomato but the red pepper flavor is also very prominent. The eggs are my favorite part. They have been delicately poached in this delectable liquid. When you cut them open, the yellow runs into the tomato sauce and it just becomes this giant bowl of vegetarian chili.
The best part about Shakshuka is definitely using a hefty amount of bread to mop up all of the last mounds of sauce. For those of you who don’t handle spicy flavors so much like me, the bread can also help soothe the burn.
Janna Gur also provides several other ways to make this dish, most interesting to me is called the “Israeli Army Shakshuka” which includes baked beans and kettle corn into the mix. That just further emphasizes the vegetarian chiliness of the dish. Would it be wrong to add some bright orange cheese?
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