If you've never tried Shakshuka, or Eggs on Tomato Sauce, you should, and you'll also fall in love with this recipe with queso de freír.
Shakshuka (eggs on tomato sauce) is one of those dishes that have made so many rounds on the internet that you're likely to have seen it elsewhere. Trying it for the first time, on the other hand, makes you wonder just why you haven't made it before. Such a simple idea, such a great little dish.
It was during my culinary tour of Israel where I first encountered shakshuka outside of a cookbook, or the internet. I just knew I had to write a recipe for it. At least four tests later, I think I got just the perfect one for our readers.
Also spelled shakshouka, the name is also used in Arabic to describe any type of mixture. Its origins are a matter of debate, but the most accepted version is that it is of Tunisian origin -- it's also known and loved in Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt -- and was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. It is a popular breakfast dish, but can also be served for dinner.
About this recipe
There aren't that many food blogs without a recipe for shakshuka, and here's mine too. In my defense, it is a great dish, and it's highly adaptable, with variations ranging from the simple, soupy tomato base, to the vegetable-laden concoction that I favor.
Similar concepts can be found in other cuisines, like the Spanish pisto manchego -- possibly brought over by the Muslims who occupied the Iberian peninsula for 800 years.
For my recipe, I have gathered inspiration from several versions, and the addition of queso de freir (pan-fried halloumi in the original at MantaRay Restaurant) works so well that I think it should be a permanent addition to shakshuka everywhere.
Shakshuka Recipe: Eggs on Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 lb of queso de freir (or halloumi) cut into slices
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 gloves of garlic , crushed
- 1 large eggplant , diced (about 3 cups)
- 1 bell pepper , diced
- 4 large tomatoes , diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder (optional)
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- Frying cheese: Pat dry the cheese to remove excess moisture. Heat half the oil over medium heat and pan-fry the cheese till it turns a golden color, turn and fry on the other side. Remove the cheese and let it rest on a paper towel.
- Cooking vegetables: Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the garlic and eggplant and stir for 30 seconds. Add pepper and tomatoes and mix well. Cook stirring until the tomatoes start releasing liquid. Add tomato sauce and a 1/3 cup of water. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through but firm (about 4 mins). Season with salt and pepper and chili to taste, stir in cumin.
- Cooking eggs: Make small wells in the sauce and gently crack the eggs into them one by one. Cook until the egg white has set but the yolk remains runny.
- Serving: Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately with bread on the side.