Shakshuka is a beautiful dish of North African origins, basically consisting of baked eggs in a rich, spiced tomato sauce. My love affair with this dish goes back to my Israeli roots. The Israelis, having borrowed the best dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa, cottoned onto shakshuka a long time ago and have since adopted it as their own, making it one of the most often found dishes on an Israeli breakfast menu.
In Israel (and now increasingly in London too) you can find a variety of different types of shakshuka, served with all different sides.
But my absolute favourite has to be the Balkan version, so called because of the gorgeous salty cheese added (in Israel Balkan cheeses are found everywhere but a good feta works a treat too).
Here’s my easy homemade version of Balkan shakshuka. (FYI you’ll need a quality cast iron pan for this, we actually bought ours specifically for making shakshuka!)
1/2 block feta cheese (or as much as you like)
1 finely chopped med onion
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 clove garlic
1 diced red pepper
1 diced red chilli
1.5 tsp cumin powder
1.5 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
Small handful finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1. In a solid cast iron pan (no plastic, it’s got to a be able to go in the oven!) fry the chopped onions in plenty of good quality olive oil on low heat for around 10 mins until soft.
2. Add chopped garlic. Cook for a few mins then add the peppers and fresh chilli and cook for a further 10 mins on low heat.
3. Add all the spices and salt and pepper and sugar, mix in and cook for a few more minutes.
4. Stir in the tomato puree, cook for few minutes and then add tinned tomatoes.
5. Chop the aubergine into 1cm small chunks and add to the sauce. Cook down for around 20 mins, allowing the spices to sink into the aubergine.
6. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c.
7. Chop the feta into small chunks.
8. Ensure the sauce is a good, thick consistency, not too watery. Make circular wells in the sauce in the pan big enough to hold each egg, and crack each egg carefully into each well.
9. Sprinkle the feta generously over the top and place the pan in the oven. Cook for around 7 mins (depending on how cooked you like your eggs).
10. Once cooked carefully retrieve your pan from the oven, finish with some fresh chopped parsley on top. Serve with tahini and fresh bread.
!בתאבון (bon appetit!) 🍳🍳✌🍳🍳
London shakshuka: As shakshuka gains popularity in London here’s some places where you can find the best:
1. Cafe Loren – we’ve not actually been here but it’s a restaurant that actually specialises in only shakshuka so it’s gotta be good.
2. The Good Egg – delish Israeli cafe, well worth a visit even if shakshuka isn’t your thing.
3. Honey & co – if Ottolenghi style salads/bakery are your thing you’ll also love this little place.
2018 update: shakshuka has taken London by storm and is a bit of an Instagram sensation! I’ve had it now in many places all over London but the quality is very variable. Give it a go at home, it’s so much easier than you think and so satisfying for a weekend brunch.