RECIPE: Shakshuka what your mama gave ya!

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Note: if you’re not a fan of eggs over easy, then Shakshuka just isn’t for you. Scrambled just doesn’t work in this dish. If you like your yolks a bit runny, then you’re in for an exceptional dish.

Poached eggs over a spiced tomato sauce makes for some savory, messy (in the best way) eating.

Poached eggs over a spiced tomato sauce makes for some savory, messy (in the best way) eating.

My husband has been working some very long hours in the last few weeks, so I’ve been left to fend for myself in the kitchen. So when my chef cousin walked in the door ready to recipe test, with all ingredients ready to go in this slowly cooked and slightly spicy tomato sauce topped with poached eggs, IT WAS ON. We didn’t know how amazing this dish would turn out, and shakshuka is the dish to impress someone.

I make dishes for myself regularly. But sometimes I try new ones because I want my husband to make them FOR me later. I don’t drop hints, I just say, “Honey, I want you to make this for me one day soon.” I’m never disappointed, and he’s never left to figure out what I want.

That last sentence can save a million relationships. Just ask for, or tell the other what you want. I hear it all the time, “He should know what I want.” Or, “She knows what she signed up for.” No more games. Just speak up and say what you want. Or even better, check in with the other to make sure both your needs are getting met.


Image from blog, Pear Heaven.

Shakshuka is also a couples-friendly preparation meal. It is easy, but there are plenty of steps. When a bit of labor is involved, make a dish with someone who gets your hormones rockin’. My husband did this this years ago, while impressing a newly infatuated woman (me), so he knew to pull out all the stops.

Men (and women) everywhere, picture this: you and the beloved in the kitchen together. Music plays with wine flowing while you patiently work on this together. You hang out, make jokes, chop vegetables, figure out directions together, and maybe even ask the other to complete a task. Then one of you offers a spoonful for the other to sample a taste, and reaches over to maneuver her out of the way while she has messy hands, which can also be the opportune moment to cop a feel/steal a kiss. For the clueless, use the above image.

Roasting jalapenos.

Roasting jalapenos.

Now get back to the sauce, which has you roasting a few jalapeños while sautéing onion in a bit of extra oil, which commences the first layer. You don’t know about layering flavors during the cooking process? Check the simple explanation from

And let me address this now: my version is not traditional. I took some liberties that appeal to my own tastebuds. I’ve heard shakshuka originates from Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Azerbaijian or all of the above. That’s not up for debate today.  This dish is now my current favorite, so let’s stay focused on how to make it.

As you simmer the sauce, get a few items ready for dipping: slices of bread, stalks of asparagus, sliced red bell peppers or your favorite vegetables. Once the sauce is done, you won’t poach the eggs separately, but IN the sauce. This can be tricky if you’re not comfortable with making sure your yolks stay intact. So here’s a few tutorials on how to make them perfect. Don’t crack an egg like this.  

Crack it like THIS.  

I use a 10-inch ceramic dish to serve it in. Some use a cast iron skillet to prepare the entire dish on the stovetop. I found the results are more consistent and easy to control inside an oven. But if it’s 90 degrees outside, perhaps your best course is to use a stovetop or atop a crackling fire. Then you’ll place it covered in an oven for a few minutes.oven

Do not walk away from your oven. Keep peeking on the egg doneness every few minutes. It will keep cooking even after you remove it from the oven, so be mindful that the eggs are not overcooked.  If you’re squeamish about eating after other people, individual ramekins will do the trick. They are super cute, easy and can be used to make other fabulous things like creme brulee, onion soup, individual pot pies, oven poached eggs, shall I keep going?

Then you’ll add another layer: flat leafed parsley (curly or dried parsley is something I will never recommend), lemon zest, garlic-infused oil and quality feta.

Shakshuka, finished and ready to eat.

Shakshuka, finished and ready to eat.

Final image: everyone hungry. You sitting with your favorite people while each of you digs into this. And loving every bite.  

Serves 3
A slightly spicy tomato sauce with poached eggs.
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Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 6 tablespoons olive oil (for onions)
  2. 1 1/2 yellow onions, chopped
  3. 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  4. 1/2 cup vegetable oil (for garlic-oil)
  5. 2 whole jalapeños, roasted
  6. 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  10. 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
  11. 6 whole eggs
  12. Quality feta cheese, uncrumbled
  13. salt and pepper to taste
  14. Flat leafed parsley
  1. Do all the prep first. It will save you so much time and headache.
  2. Heat pan first, after 30 seconds add oil to pan and then add onions on a low-medium heat.
  3. Roast chiles by holding them over a stovetop flame for 60-90 seconds until they are black. Second option, place them in your toaster oven on broil or just use your oven's broiler. If you're going the second route, cut them in half and remove the seeds. Leave them in for about 5 minutes and turn them so that the roasting process gets them perfect and smoky.
  4. Once their skin is blistery, put them in a bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap to let them sweat. After 15 minutes in the bowl, remove the skin with (preferably) gloves. Chop them into relatively small pieces and set aside.
  5. Make sure you keep stirring those onions.
  6. Coarsely chop garlic, add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and place over a VERY low heat. Add the garlic and keep an eye on this soon to be delicious garlic infused oil.
  7. Add peppers to onions, then add 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of dried cumin, 1 bay leaf, a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
  8. Open the can of San Marzano tomatoes, crush with your hands, then add to pan and let flavors come together.
  9. Garlic should smell nicely, and look light, barely toasted. You have to keep an eye on it, cuz it will burn. It's sweet garlicky deliciousness.
  10. Wait for sauce to reduce by half, then add garlic oil, salt to taste, and a teaspoon of lemon zest. When it's finished, preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Transfer the sauce over to a shallow 11-inch, oven safe round dish. Or a tagine pot.
  12. Then crack the eggs directly into the pan. (Refer to the egg cracking tutorial above.) Place into oven and keep checking every five minutes until the eggs start to firm. But not too much.
  13. Once the eggs have set, remove from oven and add a teaspoon of lemon zest, feta and cover with chopped parsley.
  14. Drizzle with garlic oil right on top of the dish.
  15. Eat it, make a mess and love it.
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About Mona

I'm a food writer and home cook that loves to talk about healthy food and romance.
This entry was posted in Breakfast, CTGL Tip, Dinner, Gluten-free, Late Night Snack, Lunch. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to RECIPE: Shakshuka what your mama gave ya!

  1. Tracy says:

    I can’t wait to try this! Sounds delicious! I love this blog!

  2. Pingback: Perfect Ideas for Valentine’s Day | Cook This…Get Laid