If living in Israel has done anything, it has been to instill in me a lifelong love of shakshuka (also spelled shakshouka). This North African egg dish is an integral part of the fabric that is Israeli cuisine, and it’s commonly eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, served in a sizzling cast iron pan, on a sandwich, or in a pita. Essentially eggs poached in tomato sauce, this is one of those dishes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And the recipe that I bring you today is from another book that I’m thrilled to have contributed to, Israel To Go: Look & Cook Book Vol. 1 (LunchBox Press, 2012; see it on Amazon here).
I first virtually met Ofer Vardi, the editor of the book and the man behind Israeli-based LunchBox Press, while writing an article (read it here) on his Hungarian Kosher e-cookbook, Going Paprikash. We touched base again a few months ago when I was writing a piece on Goulash and he told me about his latest project, which would “present kosher Israeli cuisine with recipes and artwork solicited via crowdsourcing, which is an open call conducted mainly via online social networks, such as Facebook” (read more here). I happily submitted a photo and I am thrilled that it’s been included.
Even if I wasn’t a tiny part of this book I would want a copy. I know that I will treasure it always as a reminder of my time in this crazy, beautiful, delicious country. It’s a wonderful glimpse at Israel and Israeli cuisine through gorgeous, artistic photographs printed on thick, matt paper. The back of the small book includes 35 recipes, all in English, for some of the most iconic (adopted) Israeli foods like Malawach (Yemenite fried dough), kebab, schnitzel, and malabi (milk pudding). And this classic shakshuka.
Don’t you want to dig right in? About 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of simmering on the stove will get you one of the most satisfying, comforting (vegetarian! gluten free! parve!) dishes imaginable. You can use jarred sauce or canned tomatoes, but it only takes a few extra minutes to chop up all those fresh tomatoes and the result is totally worth it. And shakshuka is infinitely variable. I’ve excluded the red peppers and it’s still perfect. I often enjoy it with chunks of eggplant and crumbled feta, or topped with mozzarella cheese for an “Italian” version. However you prepare it make sure you have plenty of bread – pita, French bread, any bread – to soak up the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 red peppers, cut into cubes
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 8 tomatoes, cut into cubes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon water (original recipe calls for 2½ cups - use your judgement)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Hot pepper, to taste (optional)
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup chopped parsley, for garnish
- Heat the oil in a wide (preferably cast iron) pan and stir-fry the peppers. Add the garlic and continue stir-frying for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook, continuing to stir, for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, continuing to stir, for another 2 minutes.
- Add water, cumin, salt, pepper, and hot pepper, if using.
- One at a time, break the eggs into the simmering tomato sauce, spacing them evenly in the pan.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through to your liking.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Get Israel to Go HERE >>
Disclaimer: I was not paid to contribute to Israel to Go nor was I compensated for this post, but I did receive a complimentary copy of the book in lieu of payment. All the opinions expressed are my own.