Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Shakshuka is a North African dish consisting of eggs baked in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions and spices, to be served with a big chunk of bread and an empty stomach.

Perfecto brunch time fare at home, to leave you feeling fully sated. It's extremely well deserved when one has been able to wake up leisurely, perhaps partake in a little light exercise, and is ready at the kitchen table with the weekend papers...This was my scenario, as was having nothing left in the fridge except for these ingredients. I had been playing supermarket sweep at my local market that weekend so I had what seemed like hundreds of tomatoes, mushrooms and courgettes etc, so I actually had made a ratatouille the night before with added aubergine, onion and plenty of spices such as cumin, chilli and coriander. A really great way to use up ingredients. Just pop in an ovenproof dish or individual pan, crack an egg over the top and bake in a low heat until the egg is just set.

Ottolenghi does a great Shakshuka recipe that you can wip up fresh...

Serves 4:
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 180ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cut into 2cm strips
  • 4 tsp muscovado sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • up to 250ml of water
  • 8 free-range eggs
  • salt and black pepper
In a large pan dry roast the cumin seeds on a high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the oil and onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar and herbs and continue cooking on a high heat for 5-10 mins to get a good colour.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook for further 15 mins. During cooking keep adding water so that the mix has a pasta sauce likeness. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the bay leaves and divide the mixture among four deep frying pans or in oven proof dishes. If by the now the mixture is cooled down then first warm it up (either by putting the frying pan on a medium heat) or by popping in oven. Then make little gaps in the mix and break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and cover the pans with lids (or put some foil over the top). Bake very gently for 10-12 mins or until the eggs are just done. Serve immediately.

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