Shakshuka – Eggs and Tomato Breakfast
What is shakshuka?
Have you ever tried shakshukah? The word means “all mixed up.” However, shakshouka, shakshuka, shakshooka – however, it is spelled – is a dish that is most popular in the Middle East and North Africa. Its main ingredients are eggs and tomatoes, and is mostly considered as a breakfast item. You can add one, two, or more ingredients to your shakshuka and you will never go wrong.
Shakshuka sandwich, anyone?
The first time I had this dish was, yeah you are right, in Saudi Arabia. It was an early winter morning and we were driving to Lebanon (a 20-hour drive from where we were in Saudi Arabia) and we bought some shakshuka sandwiches on the way. They were so good (aren’t they all?) that I could not forget it from then on. It was 13 years ago. If you have been reading my blogs somehow, your guess as to what I did next is perfect. Yes, I looked it up (google?) and cooked it and experimented with it, and so on. That brought me to the new habit of ordering them for breakfast at work and cooking them on weekends (well, not every weekend).
The best I had done and loved: tried an Indian version when I visited India in 2017! Brrrilllliaaaannntttt!
Ingredients for shakshukah
My first shakshuka experience has 3 items other than eggs: onions, tomatoes, and green bell peppers. This, I can tell, must be the basic recipe as this is what I also get mostly whenever I buy a ready-to-eat shakshuka sandwich. These ingredients are all diced finely, sauteed briefly and mixed with scrambled eggs, and made into sandwiches.
Kind of a tradition, I supposed, they use hotdog buns to make the sandwiches.
Salt, ground black pepper are basic ingredients as well – to your preference. My family likes their shakshuka without as-is, no salt, no pepper. My 17-year old gives it a little drizzle of hot sauce! A few cloves of garlic, pepper flakes are interesting additions.
How to cook shakshukah
This is a dish you can make in minutes. Having said that, the cooking time would vary depending on the additional ingredients you fancy and the cooking temperature you use, i.e., low or medium heat. Here are a few other additional ingredients I have tried:
- canned baked beans
- kidney or garbanzo beans
- canned tomatoes
- cherry tomatoes
- tomato paste
- fresh parsley
- corn kernels
- sliced mushrooms
- Shredded cheese
Can we add meat in shakshukah?
Confession: I have not tried adding any meat to my shakshuka. It must be something I can consider. Beef bacon, probably? Why not for a start? It should also be good with ground beef, so I was told.
How to eat shakshuka
Shakshuka is eaten with pita bread in the Middle East and would be nice with any other breads. Though it is a breakfast item, I had seen it served during lunches and dinners. Imagine shakshuka and bread for dinner and it would already bring out that mouth-watering goodness in your imagination.
What about leftovers? How to store and reheat shakshuka
I do not expect any leftovers, honestly. To answer this question, however, I would place the leftover in a sealed airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. This can be heated in the microwave for a little more than a minute and served the same way.
Tips in cooking the best shakshuka
Use fresh eggs.
Nothing bests using fresh eggs when cooking shakshuka. It tops the list of fresh ingredients in this dish as it tops everything else – literally and figuratively.
Use choice vegetable ingredients.
Ideally, you would like to make sure your tomatoes and bell peppers are not limp. This will make the best shakshuka. However, if you would otherwise, I suggest you overcook your vegetable ingredients to achieve that different effect, the result would be equally delicious. My husband and his siblings prefer shakshuka overcooked (well, in my opinion, at the very least). With the right combination of spices, theirs come out wildly different. I pity fresh vegetables in the process, though, but I am satisfied at the table, so I can’t complain.
Shakshukah is a breakfast item with eggs, tomatoes as main ingredients.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion diced
- 1 medium-sized red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium-sized green bell pepper diced
- 1 large fresh tomato diced (about 1-1/2 cups) or
- 1 can 28 ounces chopped or diced tomatoes
- Salt and ground black pepper – to taste
- ½ teaspoon mixed spices Baharat or garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped (separate some for garnishing later)
- 6 to 8 eggs
- Sautee onions in olive oil for two minutes, then add tomatoes and bell peppers. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add mixed spices and cumin. Stir for one minute, then add salt, ground black pepper, sweet paprika, parsley, and tomato paste. Stir again and spread on the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium.
- Break eggs on top of the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt and ground black pepper. Cook covered until eggs are done.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.
I use the same recipe and add mushrooms or canned baked beans, and adjust the measurements accordingly.