Shakshouka, which literally means something like “mish-mash”, is a popular Tunisian and Israeli one-pan dish consisting of poached eggs in a spicy tomato-based ragout. This version contains bell peppers and plenty of herbs and spices. Although it can also be enjoyed as a hearty breakfast, I’d much rather serve this smoky, sweet delight for dinner. Bread and couscous are great to mop up the sauce and if your shakshouka packs some serious heat, you can always add a delicious, cooling dollop of thick yoghurt.
Ingredients (for 2):
2 sweet white onions, thickly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thickly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced
8 cocktail vine tomatoes (4 large tomatoes), chopped
1 large red chilli pepper, finely chopped (leave the seeds in, it has to be quite spicy)
large pinch of ground cumin
pinch of ground coriander
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 tsp dark brown demerara sugar
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
3 bay leaves
to serve: couscous and/or toasted pita bread and thick, creamy yoghurt
- Heat some oil in a large flat pan (it’s a one-pan dish so it should be able to accommodate everything), then add the onion, chilli and cumin and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the bell pepper slices, brown sugar and herbs and fry everything on high heat. Don’t worry if the veggies become a little charred: you need them to caramelise to really get that smoky-sweet, intense flavour.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and some boiling water and leave to simmer for 10 about minutes until the tomatoes have disintegrated and formed a thick sauce. Season with ground coriander and sea salt.
- Make 4 little wells in the sauce and crack an egg in each of them. If you have a large lid that fits the pan, cover the pan and poach for about 5 minutes. If, like me, you don’t have one, you’ll have to wait a bit longer: at least 10 minutes.
- Garnish with another large handful of chopped fresh coriander and parsley and serve with couscous, bread and yoghurt (optional).