Dish of the month: Shakshouka

Dish of the month: Shakshouka

Food – 07.09.20

A skillet is used to create this satisfying breakfast dish of tomato and eggs


Skim through the breakfast menus of most local cafes and you’ll always spot shakshouka. In this dish, poached eggs swim in a bright, tangy sauce made with tomatoes and herbs. The dish is no stranger to Middle Eastern kitchens but its origins are disputed. Some food historians believe it’s from the Ottoman Empire, while others claim it’s a North African dish, with beginnings in Morocco or Tunisia. Either way, the beloved breakfast item is now enjoyed across the world.

What is shakshouka?

It is the Arabic word for ‘mixture’. In this case, a mix of bold flavours and many textures - chunky tomatoes, crunchy peppers and onions, runny eggs, enhanced with peppery herbs. If you want to throw in some more ingredients, feel free, after all, there’s no right or wrong way of making a modern-day shakshouka. At City Walk’s Mitts & Trays, the classic recipe is upgraded with a beef and tomato sauce, while One Life Kitchen labels their dish as ‘Shakshoumi’ - a combination of shakshouka and fried halloumi. While sticking to the theme of eggs, a sauce, and toppings in a skillet, Baker & Spice gives the dish a whole new meaning with its Green Shakshouka that has eggs cooked in a courgette and onion salsa with fresh spinach and turmeric.

Shakshouka at home

You can put together a hearty and humble shakshouka with just a few ingredients. Cook chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic together until tender. Add cumin, paprika, and coriander powder along with salt and pepper.

The sauce is the heart of the dish and can be made with fresh, pureed, or canned tomatoes. We love using fresh, ripe tomatoes along with some tomato puree but if you want to save time, bring out a can of chopped tomatoes. Once you’ve added the tomatoes, bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it to simmer so the sauce thickens.

Using the back of a spoon, create wells in the sauce and crack an egg in each one. Cover the skillet and allow the eggs to cook until the whites are set. Garnish with parsley and mint. Be generous with the herbs. If you can’t live without spice, throw in some chilli flakes too.

How to eat shakshouka

You can spoon shakshouka into individual plates, but slow-cooked dishes like this are best eaten from the pan itself. Let the runny eggs become one with the flavourful sauce before you mop up the mixture from the skillet with pieces of bread or toast. Traditionally, shakshouka would be served with pita bread, but a slice of sourdough works just as well.