Shakshuka is a national dish in Israel for any time of the day or night and it's healthy and vegetarian! Not Vegan but….so easy to prepare!
This dish was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. The exact origins of the dish are disputed. (Like many Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes.) Some food historians believe the dish spread to Spain and the greater Middle East from Ottoman Turkey, while others think it originated in Morocco. A third theory is that it is from Yemen. The"original shakshuka" was thought to have been made with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, goat meat and fresh garlic.
In Israel today it is traditionally served for brunch, with soft boiled, poached like eggs in a tomato based slightly spicy sauce. It is also eaten however at any time, breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can find it on most menus in Israeli casual restaurants.
My mother made it for dinner for my father once a week!! I now do the same, it is a weekly dish for us.
Shakshuka can be varied with anything you want added to it. So easy to prepare, nutritious and delicious. It is a great way to use up soft tomatoes, don't throw them out when they are no longer hard enough for slicing into a salad!
I like to use fresh tomatoes, some cooks use canned tomatoes but I find them very watery. Some add green and red peppers. I like my Shakshuka simple with tomatoes, spices and garlic. All spices can be adapted to your taste. Listed are the amounts for 2 people, increase the ingredients for more.
Here's my version of traditional Shakshuka!
6 medium tomatoes chopped into small cubes (Some cooks like to peel the tomatoes first but I don't do that. I like the texture that the sautéed tomatoes with the peel on create)
1 teaspoon black ground pepper
1 teaspoon Harissa (hot moroccan red sauce) or chilly pepper. I prefer Harissa!
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 - 1 ½ teaspoon salt (or to your taste, we like food salted well)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 small can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 teaspoon sugar
Water if needed
Heat olive oil in sauté pan and add the paprika, pepper, cumin, chilly pepper and salt. Let spices open up a little by frying them on medium heat for a minute. Add crushed garlic, mix in for about 30 seconds. Garlic burns fast so don't fry it for longer. Add the cubed tomatoes and stir. Add 3/4 of the chopped parsley leaving a ¼ of the amount for garnish.
Cook for about 10 minutes until tomatoes are soft. Add tomato sauce and sugar and mix in pan. Bring to a boil and lower to medium heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture resembles a stew like texture. Add any additional seasoning at this point according to your taste. If liquid has been absorbed too much add a little water to make it more saucy. If sauce is too watery, keep cooking without the cover until it thickens.
When the sauce looks fairly thick and not too watery, make space in between the mixture and drop an egg in one at a time. I like to have my eggs ready and broken into separate small dishes so I can put them all in my pan pretty much at the same time so they cook evenly.
Cover and cook for about 3-5 minutes until all the white of the egg is firm but the yolk is still soft. When served on the plate you should be able to poke your fork in to the yolk so it is runny and mix with the delicious sauce. Some people like the yolk to be a little firmer so that is a personal preference.
Serve with pita bread on the side to dip into the tomato sauce. Yum! (see my link below on how to make your own pita)
You will have left over sauce. Do not throw this away! Use the next day on your pizza as a wonderful tomato sauce.(See my recipe link at the bottom of page for easy pizza dough) or add it to your side vegetables for an instant sauce. It can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3 days or freeze it for a couple of months to use at a later date!