Awe Shakshuka!

No, that is not a clever substitute for a swear word. Shakshuka is a delicious dish, made all over North Africa, consisting of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. It can be eaten for any meal of the day. It is traditionally served with flatbread, but it can also go over rice or another grain. You could also just slurp all the tomato sauce from a spoon and skip the carbohydrates all together. You just do you.

You have all these items, right? If so, you have the potential to make shakshuka.

I first heard about this dish on a cooking enthusiasts group I belong to on social media. After scrolling into so many variations, I wanted to try it my self. It uses pantry staples, and I am always looking for more ways to use eggs. Did I mention that our chickens are ramping up egg production? Here is a selection of recipes:

  • Here is a simple recipe from The Food Network
  • This luxurious version comes from Silk Road Recipes. I do not always have saffron, but when I do I will henceforth add it to my shakshuka.
  • Allrecipes has this streamlined recipe.
  • There are plenty of others on the World Wide Web. Take a scroll around your favorite search engine and see which version looks good to you.

The method is easy, but there are a two tricks I have discovered so far. After sautéing the onion, garlic, and bell pepper, I added the seasonings to bloom in the skillet before I added the tomatoes. I seasoned with cumin, coriander seed, paprika, parsley and pepper. Last week, I would have added oregano. This week, my oregano plants (which woke up during an unusually warm February) are under several inches of snow. I have used all my dried oregano. Until the next thaw, the Food It Your Self kitchen is an oregano-free-zone.

Shakshuka trick number one is to crack each egg into a small vessel and swirl the white around with a toothpick before you add it to the pan. This lets you easily remove any shards of eggshell and helps keep the white from getting rubbery during cooking.

Just 15-25 minutes after adding the eggs, your meal is ready. I like my yolks firm, but if you like runny yolks, you will be on the lower end of that time range. My first attempt at this dish yielded tough whites and dry yolks. Thus I share this second trick for shakshuka: remove the pan from the heat, whether stovetop or oven, when the eggs seem just slightly under-done. The residual heat will finish cooking them. Learn from my failure, DIYeters.

Shakshuka is my favorite kind of food. The main ingredients are easy to find. The spiciness/seasoning is up to you (and what you have at hand). I am so glad I looked into this unfamiliar dish after reading about it. What foods or dishes have you tried after learning about them on social media? Share in the comments.