Shakshuka – Eggs baked in tomato, cumin and chilli

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The perfect breakfast

This recipe was inspired by a dish my husband and I had one icy morning in London. After almost 24 hours of traveling and lugging ridiculously heavy suitcases from tube to tube, my husband and I had worked up quite an appetite. A thin misty rain fell from the ash grey clouds, which of course is hardly surprising for London.

As we strolled the streets in awe of this new city, filled with people and cultures of all kinds, I couldn’t help but notice people collecting and snuggling in cafes and deli’s. Eating French style baguettes filled with prosciutto and rocket, steaming pasta and all sorts of achingly sweet cakes. By this stage I could feel the cold was starting to seep into my bones. I was feeling like an aspirant to the London chill. Coming from South Africa where the weather is mostly glorious and the winters mild, with no shortage of vitamin D. Don’t get me wrong, I am ok with the cold, but cold and wet is not my idea of fun.

Ravenous and looking for a food sanctuary, we where on the prowl for something warm and satisfying. And then, there it was in South Kensington, a quaint Spanish deli style restaurant, with a gorgeous Jamon Serrano ham hanging in the window. It was a sign! I mean how can you pass such a restaurant by? It was lovely and toasty warm inside, and the smell of spices, cured meats and coffee had us entranced. Grabbing the last couple of open seats at the counter, we noticed that we where crowned by hanging hams and copper pots, and that we had actually found ourselves in a bustling Spanish food cathedral.

I was instantly a happy woman, and all it took was, 1 x creamy cappuccino and a gorgeous pan of reduced spicy tomatoes, peppers, chorizo and 2 baked eggs, served with some crusty bread. I must say that my hubby looked suitably impressed too.

This is my take on Shakshuka, which is originally a Tunisian dish and has become hugely popular, with many versions around the world. This dish is for those who have a love for eggs and tomato, a match made in heaven.

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Serves 2

Ingredients –

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes or finely chopped fresh chilli
  • 1 tin whole tomato – cut up
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove – crushed
  • 1 yellow pepper – cut into small cubes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp natural yogurt
  • ½ cup coriander leaves – roughly chopped

Recipe –

  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan; the pan must not be too large. You want the eggs to have a nice tomato bath to cook in
  • Gently fry the yellow pepper and garlic till soft
  • Add the tomato paste, chilli, cumin, salt and pepper
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and the sugar and simmer for 10-12 minutes until reduced slightly. Check for seasoning
  • Make 4 dips in the sauce(not too deep) and gently crack the eggs into its own dip

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  • With a fork gently swirl the egg whites around a little, without breaking the yolks
  • Simmer for 8-10 minutes until egg whites are set and the yolk is runny. You can place a lid on top to speed up the process
  • Remove from the heat and let it stand for 2 minutes
  • Lightly stir in the yogurt and top with coriander leaves
  • Served with toasted ciabatta

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Dee’s notes –

  • Add chopped chorizo when frying the yellow peppers
  • You can use red peppers also
  • Once the eggs are cracked into the dips you can place in a hot oven to cook the eggs.
  • Add more chilli and cumin for an intense flavor
  • If you have harrissa paste – substitute 2 tbsp of it for the chilli

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