Shakshuka: Tomatoes and Eggs Breakfast Skillet

I discovered this dish a few months back, when the family decided to cut back on processed food. Because of the health issues of some of our members, it was recommended that we avoid these types of food. About time, as I have gotten a bit tired of our usual canned sausage, canned corned beef and canned meatloaf.

It has been quite a challenge for our family to make breakfast healthier. Growing up, we got used to savory canned goods and processed food. Sweet breakfasts as well isn’t much of a thing–so much so that we would eat rice, meat and maybe egg and some fruitfor breakfast. Not that this was wrong—just that most of the time, it came from a can.

So when I discovered this dish, I was relieved: it was healthy, cheap, easy to make, and absolutely delicious. Bonus: it looks so beautiful, vibrant and sophisticated! All you need is some spices, tomatoes, eggs and olive oil. Additional ingredients are all optional.

Originally from Africa, this dish is usually of tomatoes and eggs in a hot skillet or pot has become quite a popular breakfast item in the Arabian and Mediterranean region. I have also read that originally, Shakshouka is a method of cooking rather than a dish by itself.

The word Shakshouka (Arabic: شَكْشُوكَةٌ‎) means “a mixture”] from Maghrebi Arabic, translit. shakka, meaning “stick together, clumped together, adhere or cohere or possibly from the Punic language or the Berber languages as shakshek is found in Tunisian Arabic, in the Berber languages as well as in Hebrew and means “to mix”

(taken from Wikipedia haha)

A more authentic version would call for Harissa, a very potent spicy paste from the middle east, and Sumac– a ground spice that adds tartness to european and south asian dishes. Unfortunately, I had the hardest time finding these, so I substituted with anise seeds, chili, and garam masala.

This dish goes great with bread and perhaps a glass of fruit juice.

Shakshuka

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. anise seeds
  • 1-2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 small chili pepper, chopped
  • A pinch or two of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnishing

If available:

  • 1-2 tbsp of harissa
  • A pinch Sumac, according to taste

Optional/extra mile additions:

  • 1 red bell pepper (grilled until skin is thoroughly burnt: then skin and seeds removed, then sliced thinly after)
  • Chopped black and green olives for garnishing,and to add a salty taste
  • Crumbled feta cheese for garnishing.

Directions:

1. In a skillet or iron pan saute saute the onions, anise seeds, garlic, paprika and garam masala until onions semi translucent and are fully coated with the spices.

2. Add the tomatoes and bell peppers* (if bell peppers will be added). Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat, or until tomatoes are very soft and have turned into a sauce. If your tomatoes are canned, you just need ten minutes, and tomatoes should be crushed lightly, as we don’t want a smooth marinara-like sauce. Add the harissa and sumac, if available and stir.

3. Make small craters from the tomatoes on the skillet and crack a whole egg on each, ensuring that the sides are surrounded with tomatoes. Covered and let it the top steam for 2-3 minutes; keep covered longer if you want a more cooked egg.

4. Remove lid and top with parsley and as an option, chopped olives and crumbled feta cheese.

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