Sometimes I have to take my own advice, so I am cautious to give sound counsel in the first place. Today we have too many peppers in the fridge as I did not get round to using them for last night’s dinner with friends. It seemed to me that shakshuka would make a good lunch for the three of us at home today. I turned to my previous recipe and sure enough, I do not have harissa at home. So I make do (taking my own advice) with sriracha hot chilli sauce.
I used three different coloured peppers for today’s shakshuka
Herbs and chilli from the garden
“Variations on the same theme of eggs cooked in a nice thick sauce” is how shakshuka is described in Falastin: A Cookbook*. There is a recipe for Scrambled Red Shakshuka (where the eggs are beaten then swirled into the sauce) and a Green Shakshuka (made with leeks, Swiss chard, green chilli and herbs).
Here is today’s Shakshuka recipe, made with what I had by way of ingredients. I decided to slice the peppers and onions instead of chopping them. The sauce was in a regular pan over the hob, and then transferred to my new love of a pumpkin-shaped Le Creuset casserole. After this I cracked in three eggs and put the pot in the oven at 160 C fan / 180 C for 20 minutes. This was slightly too long and 16 – 18 minutes would have been better for a runnier yolk. The recipe below is for making the Shakshuka in a pan over the hob.
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For the Shakshuka:
3 tablespoons olive oil
120 g white onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green or red chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
375 g peppers, sliced thinly
200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (2 tablespoons if not using the fresh chilli)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dark brown soft sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of salt
400 g tinned chopped tomatoes (I use Cirio brand)
A few sprigs of oregano and parsley, chopped
Greek yogurt for serving
How to Make:
Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic over a medium heat until slightly softened.
Add the peppers, cherry tomatoes, sriracha, tomato paste, sugar, cumin, paprika and salt. Stir everything together then add the tinned tomatoes and herbs.
Bring everything to a gentle simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until the peppers are softened.
Crack an egg into a small bowl.
Using the back of a soup ladle, make an indent in the tomato and pepper sauce and slide the egg into the the hole.
Continue to add in the other three eggs this way.
Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes, until the eggs whites are set but the yolks are still slightly runny. It is this combination of soft-set eggs and spicy thick tomato sauce that makes shakshuka so attractive.
Sprinkle over some chopped parsley and serve with bread and the Greek yogurt on the side.
Preheat the oven to 160 C fan / 180 C.
Transfer the sauce to a serving pot. Crack the eggs in and place the lid on the pot. Cook in the oven for 16 – 18 minutes if you prefer your yolks runny, and for 20 minutes if you prefer a firmer yolk.
I am enjoying the slightly cooler weather and the less hectic pace. August days are made for sitting quietly before the flurry of activity that comes with things starting up again in September. I head for Kuala Lumpur then to help with family matters.
* Falastin: A Cookbook, by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, published by Ebury Press, ISBN 978-1785038723. The recipes for Shakshuka are on pages 28 and 29.