What’s a shakshuka?

It’s a common breakfast all over North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean: spicy tomato sauce with eggs broken into it, basically. This version adds vegetables and cheese to make it filling enough for dinner, because life is too short to make complicated things for breakfast very often. But this makes a quick, easy dinner with things you may already have in the house.

How to make shakshuka:

Preheat oven to 425. In a frying pan over medium heat, saute a whole chopped onion and a chopped green pepper in olive oil until they are soft. Meanwhile add three cloves of garlic, chopped, two large teaspoons of cumin, and large pinches of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. When the peppers are soft, add about a cup and a half of tomato sauce and stir, then simmer for about five minutes to thicken up the tomato sauce.

How to make naan

While it’s simmering, make naan to go with it. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix three cups of flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 olive oil, 1/2 cup of yogurt and a cup of water until it forms a ball (add more water if necessary). Turn out the ball onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Form the dough into golf-ball size balls and roll each ball out about half an inch thick with a rolling pin . If the dough sticks, sprinkle a little more flour on it. Lay the breads on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they puff up and begin to get golden-brown.

When the tomato sauce is thickened, or once you have the naan in the oven, make a small indentation in the tomato sauce and crack an egg into it. Repeat four or five more times, so you have a circle of raw-ish egg all around the top. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese or homemade ricotta over the whole top, and cover the frying pan with a lid.

Turn the heat down low and let the pan sit for about five minutes, or until the whites of the eggs are white but the yolks are still runny. Serve with green salad, and with naan, and with Greek yogurt on the side.

Vegetarian or vegan

Shakshuka is vegetarian, though not vegan because it’s basically an egg dish.

Can I keep shakshuka for later?

Yes, it’s even better warmed up the next day for lunch, except that microwaving it makes the egg yolk hard-boiled rather than runny.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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