Tales from the Scale: Climb Onboard the ShakShuka Train
I have signed up for so many different recipe sites I am constantly getting notifications for the next best meal but one I have seen many times and been super curious about is called shakshuka.
According to Haaretz the "original shakshuka" was made with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, goat meat, and fresh garlic. The dish was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews as part of the mass Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands, where it has become a characteristic feature of the local cuisine.
I haven't had it with goat meat nor have I tried it with a hardboiled egg however I did get my egg yolks to cook but still run so when you dip the bread in the dish it is incredible. Layers of flavor, not too spicy, and very hearty for not having meat included. It's a great breakfast, I hear an awesome brunch and also a perfect meal as we get closer and closer to fall. Also if you are trying to save money and cut calories, oh boy keep it here for ingredients.
Basic Ingredients for Shakshuka
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp mild chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste (careful, it's spicy!)
Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste - omit for low carb)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)
The above recipe writer mentioned it's not really good for leftovers but I beg to differ. I ended up eating this four times and each time I added a bit more freshly cooked tomatoes to it and then cracked new eggs in the portion I wanted. In my opinion, it got better and better, I didn't use tomato paste or fresh tomatoes for my first round. I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and eggplant. Easy peasy!
Here is the original recipe I went with
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium eggplant
- 4 TBs oil
- 4 large tomatoes or a can of canned tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp of salt or more, to taste
- 1 TB paprika
- 1/2 TB cumin
- 1 tsp chili flakes or 1/2 of a fresh jalapeno – this would depend on your spice tolerance level
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- a handful of parsley to taste
1) First, you'll need to dice up your onions and cube out your eggplant. The recipe suggested putting the eggplant in a colander and sprinkling with salt to draw out the liquid in the eggplant while it waits to be cooked. It kind of worked. Bring your pan to medium heat with one tablespoon of oil and once it's shimmering and you can smell the oil throw in your onion and cook, stirring occasionally until they are see-through. About 5-10 minutes, turn down the pan if they are cooking too fast
2) Add two more tablespoons of oil and throw your eggplant into the pan. You want it to brown on all sides, try not to overcrowd the pan so they all get cooked evenly. Stirring occasionally. Throw in another tablespoon of oil, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
3) Now is the time to add in your can of tomatoes or your sliced tomatoes, garlic, and your spices and let the heat pull out the liquid until it turns into a sauce, about 15-25 minutes. I will be honest, mine wasn't a sauce but I didn't care because it was so good. Maybe user error?
4) Once it looks all nice and cooked I made dents in places and cracked a fresh egg into the dips, cover with the lid and watch carefully 8 - 10 minutes, the eggs will go from runny to hard in minutes so depending on how you like it just be aware.
While it's cooking you can get your cilantro or parsley all chopped up. I didn't have feta or regular greek yogurt like the recipe had suggested but at least I had some wheat bread so I toasted a few pieces buttered them up and oh hot dog! It was SO, so good!
Serve immediately with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice on top.