Despite Shakshuka being as old as the hills I have only recently discovered the delights and comfort its brings. It is a simple dish that is served all over the world butt they think it is a Tunisian dish in origin. Food and its history will always be disputed because man has always eaten food to survive but it wasn’t until hundreds of years after we actually started documenting about food.
Table of contents
Yes I have followed quite a few interpretations of Shakshuka recipes but on this occasion I just wanted to make it mine. This very British Shakshuka recipe included and ingredient not from our shores, chorizo. I think now the world is becoming smaller and smaller, us being British have many cultures living within our shores and we embrace them all. So British ingredients now are what is available to us, after all the curry dish is British, isn’t it.
Shakshuka Recipe by Ottolenghi
½ tsp cumin seeds
190ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
4 tsp muscovado sugar
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ tsp saffron strands
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Up to 250ml water
8 free-range eggs
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Place four saucepans on medium heat and divide the mixture between them. Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread. This was taken from an article from the Ottolenghi Shakshuka Guardian 10 years ago. However if you google Ottolenghi Shakshuka recipe you may well get an entirely different version.
British Shakshuka Recipe
- 1/2 roasted red pepper sliced (from a jar)
- 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 bulbs of garlic
- 1 cube of frozen spinach
- 1 inch of chorizo (leave out if vegetarian)
- 1 small onion
- pinch or oregano
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of sugar (to balance the tomatoes)
- olive oil
First start by frying the sliced onions in the olive oil, use a cast iron pan
Add the sliced roasted red pepper along with the chorizo small dice) and chopped garlic
Cook them slowly allowing the onions to soften and for all the flavours to infuse (season with salt and pepper)
After 5 minutes add the half a tin of tomatoes and the sugar, at this point you can continue on the stove or place in the oven for 15 minutes 0r 10 minutes on a medium on the stove
Next add the frozen spinach and stir into the mix back into the oven
Once the mixture has reduced and the spinach is cooked create a small well in the mixture
No break an egg in the well (season) sprinkle the oregano all over the shakshuka and cook gentle for about 10 minutes in the oven until the egg is set
Serve with some nice tased bread rubbed with garlic
if you need to bulk out this cheap meal you can either add 2 eggs for the topping or add meat at the beginning.
Peppers For The Shakshuka
The beauty of this recipe is how forgiving it is with the ingredients and you can still get the familiar taste of Shakshuka. What type of peppers do you need for Shakshuka? well general its the red pepper with matches with the tomatoes. I have used frozen red peppers, fresh red peppers and I have also used roasted red peppers from a jar which provide excellent value.
Thee great thing about the roasted red peppers in a jar is that I can take out just one for me. Then put them in the fridge and use them when needed. The problem of cooking for one most of the time is the shops don’t sell for just one person. The supermarkets are the guilty ones, its always at least 2 chicken breast, 2 pork chop, spinach is a family size bag.
The Shakshuka Pan For One
I have always enjoyed cooking so I have always had a few cooking utensils always. However since separation I released that needed to get some smaller pan. This small cast iron pan is perfect for one
So I am always on the lookout for smaller pans, the best place so far has been Aldi. They have always been great value as well, I usually risk and wait to the end to see gif they reduce the item. I have 2 mini copper pans that are perfect for sauces. I also have 2 copper frying pans, one for a reasonable size steak and the other s small, but the perfect size for a friend egg for one.
Traditional Shakshuka recipe
Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة, also spelled shakshuka or chakchouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. The dish has existed in Mediterranean cultures for centuries (source Wiki)
The dish itself did actually start with meat, usually minced or livers and believed to have been created in the Ottoman empire. Of course the origin is disputed like most recipes, so North Africa, the Yemen, we will never know exactly. It wasn’t until later they actually started to include the peppers and then other variations evolved over time. The Tunisia Jews were responsible for the spicy shakshusa, in the Ottoman Maghreb the Jews created the vegetarian version.
The Future Of The Britsh Shakshuka
Of course everybody has their very own version of this ancient classic. It would have started out as a cheap peasant recipe where the main ingredients of, onions, tomatoes, garlic and eggs would have been abundant. The red bell pepper was introduced at a later date because original the bell peppers were only grown n its native countries. That was Mexico, Central Americas and Northern South America.
The bell pepper seeds did not cross the continent until late in the 15th century.