Every country in the Middle East seems to claim Shakshuka as their own. If I were to say it’s an Israeli dish, I’d offend the Lebanese or the Egyptians, they’ll exclaim ‘first they took our land, now they want to take our food!’ So I am going to describe it as Middle Eastern, although it’s served up wherever Arabs or Israelis congregate.
But in my experience, it’s most delicious at home, from a family recipe.
This is my recipe, and I am prepared to be criticised for it’s use of myriad ingredients, for example, I use 3 or 4 types of chili pepper, but I feel that they give the dish multiple layers of flavour. This is meant to be a robust, fiery dish, but you might want to tone it down a little if you can’t take the spiciness.
This serves two, but can easily be scaled up for more.
For the sauce
1 medium onion finely sliced
half a leek washed and finely sliced
1 rib of celery finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 long green pepper deseeded finely sliced and chopped
1 cayenne pepper deseeded finely sliced and chopped
2 habanero peppers deseeded finely sliced and chopped
1 table spoon of chili flakes
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 table spoon Ras El Hanout
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Freshly ground pepper
Thai hot sauce
For the topping
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 bunch chopped fresh coriander/cilanto
half cup chopped fresh flat parsley
1 cup crumbled feta
In a large deep sided pan over medium heat (I use a 28cm flat bottomed wok/frying pan) add the oil and wait until it shimmers, then add all of the vegetables and allow them to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients stirring often. Add the water gradually to maintain a consistency that is not too wet. Cook slowly for 45 minutes, until all of the ingredients have softened and melded together. Season to taste. If it’s not spicy enough add some of the Thai hot sauce to taste.
When you are ready to serve make four indentations in the sauce and pour the egg mixture into them. Cover pan until eggs are cooked to your liking, maybe 5 minutes. Finally sprinkle herbs and feta!
Serve with lots of warm pita bread and a plain salted Lassi or Turkish Ayran to ease the fieriness!
You can easily prepare the sauce ahead of time and add the final ingredients when ready to serve.