FOOD AND TRAVEL Recipes

Science Says Shakshuka is the Best

Written by Yehudah

Shakshuka is the best. Finally the world is hearing her siren song.

It’s official: Israeli food trends have taken over the culinary scene and shakshuka is somewhere near the very top of that special list. This exciting development has encouraged Americans to try bold, spicy and savory flavors from the Middle East– and without a doubt, one of the most popular dishes that can now be found around the USA thanks to the rising trend is shakshuka. With North African origins and a versatile base, it’s become a fast favorite of both vegetarians and carnivores alike– primarily because you can dress it up just about any which way you dream.

shakshuka

So what makes shakshuka so good and yummy? Simplicity and high quality ingredients. Shakshuka is basically poached eggs in tomato sauce. Simple, right? Shakshuka has become such a mainstream dish around the Middle East, where you can find people eating for any meal of the day. There are two main ways to eat the shakshuka, either the Tunisian way or the Lebanese way, with the former focusing on the addition of fried onions. The Lebanese style, on the other hand, encourages loads of fresh garlic and herbs to be mixed directly into the tomato sauce base. Both are obviously delicious. This working man’s quick, hot staple is now a gourmet find in the poshest cities around the globe.

“Eggs contain essential nutrients for healthy skin and hair because they’re rich in zinc, biotin, and antioxidants. You know what that means? Eating shakshuka, scientifically speaking, is doing your body a huge favor,” shares S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, founder of Miami Skin Institute. That’s all the science we need to make a skillet of this perfection

The beauty of such a simple dish such as shakshuka is that you can make it your own, and there’s really no hard and fast rule saying it has to be prepared one way or another. You want to add green tomatoes? Go wild. You like sausage on yours? Be my guest. Are you a cheese addict? Try adding a layer of semi-soft to the top and letting it ooze all over the eggs. Excited about bell peppers? Throw some roasted reds right in! You don’t have to follow a recipe as long as you have the basic ingredients. My personal favorite additions to shakshuka happen to be meat toppings like merguez sausage (the slightly spicy Moroccan links) to give it a nice kick, or roast beef fried in the onions before you add the tomatoes. I also like to add cheese like fresh mozzerella to when I’m going vegetarian just to give it another layer of flavor and texture.

Shakshuka sauce

To accompany the shakshuka, you have to have some fresh bread to soak up all that delicious sauce and runny yolks from the eggs. Think pita, or something crusty like baguette. Shakshuka  So simple and so delicious!

Now that you understand why it’s so good here is a simple recipe to follow and make at home.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 1 cast iron pan or frying pan 
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup of oil
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 4 tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbs. water
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 1 tbs. of chopped parsley
  • Salt & pepper for flavor
  • 2 small, hot peppers to taste if you like spicy food

shakshuka cooking

Heat your frying pan with oil inside. When the oil is shimmering add the onions and garlic (and peppers if you want it spicy) and cook for about 1 minute. After 1 minute add the red peppers and fry for 1 more minute. Then add the tomatoes and the water and bring the whole thing to a boil. Season the sauce with the cumin and salt, pepper. Once boiling carefully break the eggs into the sauce, one by one and lower the flame to low. Cook the shakshuka, covered, until the egg whites stabilize and the yolks are still somewhat runny. To finish garnish the dish with the chopped parsley and serve with fresh pita bread.

Bon Appetite!

About the author

Yehudah

Yehudah Jacobs is a 30-year-old food fanatic, a classically trained chef, and a renowned carnivore. Living in a crazy country where many cultures come together, he has a unique perspective of all kinds of cool cuisines.

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