Spicy and sweet, shakshuka is a high protein dish of eggs poached in a tomato-based sauce with garlic, onion and a jolt of spice. Shakshuka which means “mixture” in Arabic is a breakfast classic in North Africa and Middle Eastern countries. However, it is also enjoyed for lunch and dinner. Traditionally vegetarian, this version punches up the protein with beef to make for a substantial dish to savour with steamed rice or even crusty baguette.
Total Time: < 1 hour
Serves: 5 persons
A: Beef & Eggs
500g minced beef
5 large eggs
B: To Cook Sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 large white onions, peeled and chopped
6 tomatoes, cut into large pieces
1 chili padi, thinly sliced (dried chilli flakes or 1 teaspoon paprika powder)
20ml olive oil
Italian or Provencal dried herbs (assortment of dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
1 teaspoon Kampot pepper, coarsely crushed
1 teaspoon salt or 2 tablespoons of light soya sauce, to taste
Sprig of fresh dill or parsley, coarsely chopped
1. Heat up a shallow saucepan (24-28 cm) over medium heat. Get ready the diced garlic and onion. Pour in olive oil, sauté both aromatics until light brown.
2. Next, add minced beef, chili padi and salt or soy sauce. Continue panfrying. For a spicier jolt, toss in 1- 2 more sliced chili padi.
3. Toss in 2/3 of cut tomatoes leaving 1/3 to add in step 6 for bite and texture. If tomato puree is preferred, add all the tomatoes now. Add a dash or two of dried herbs.
4. Cover pan. Boil mixture on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add remaining tomato, if any. Cover pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Using a ladle, create 5 “wells” in the bubbling, tomato sauce.
7. Crack an egg into each “well”. Sprinkle with some salt and ground pepper. Cover pan and let it cook for 1 minute.
8. Garnish with freshly chopped dill or parsley.
9. Serve immediately with steamed rice or French baguette.
BUYING TIP: To save time, substitute fresh tomatoes with 2 cans of 400g chopped tomatoes. Add a large spoonful of tomato paste for a boost of classic tomato flavour.
TECHNIQUE: Remove eggs from the fridge 1 hour before cooking and leave them at room temperature. This ensures that eggs get gently poached in the tomato sauce – yolks hold their spherical shape and prevents a runny sauce.
Photos: John Bo, Evonne Lyn Lee