Tunisian brunch shakshuka

A typical North African food, also popular in Israel, is baked eggs shakshuka. I first became aware of this dish at Made in Camden, one of my favourite brunch spots in London, and find it very restorative after a long night out (and the ensuing hangover).

Knowing that we would want a hearty and restorative brunch for Boxing Day (a.k.a. Stephens’s Day) this year after a fair bit of wine at Christmas dinner at my friend Claire’s, I planned ahead to make a big pan of shakshuka for me and Rory.

Shakshuka is basically a tomato-based dish, flavoured with spices like cumin and paprika, in which eggs are poached, and the whole thing is used for dipping bread.

I have found out that Tunisian shakshuka uses harissa and preserved lemon, whereas the version I made is closer to the Israeli version. I plan to follow up this post in the next month with my attempt at a more accurate Tunisian shakshuka. I adapted the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The main thing to be careful of (especially if cooking while hungover) is to not touch anything, especially your eyes, after handling the jalapeño — wash your hands and surfaces before moving on to the rest of the recipe.

Shakshuka closeup

Baked eggs shakshuka (for 2-3 people)

4 Tbsp (60ml) olive oil

1 Jalapeño (if you don’t like reasonably spicy food, leave it out)

1/2 small yellow onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 14-oz/400 g can chopped tomatoes

3 eggs

1/4 cup feta cheese (a big handful), crumbled by hand

Warm pitas for serving

Start by chopping the jalapeño finely and make sure to wash your hands with soap afterwards.

Fry the jalapeño and onion in oil in a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) for about eight minutes. Add garlic, cumin and paprika and fry for another two minutes while stirring.

Heat oven to warm pitas.

Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup (60 ml or 4 Tbsp) water and simmer on medium for 15 minutes, adding salt to taste.

Put pitas in oven.

Crack eggs into dish, mixing whites in with simmering sauce. Cover with lid for 5 minutes, then add feta.

Serve family-style, with the skillet on a trivet in the middle of the table and everyone dipping their pita bread into it.

Shakshuka served

2 thoughts on “Tunisian brunch shakshuka

  1. I love preserved lemon. Also harrissa – so am really looking forward to the Tunisian version. I do something similar too – not with jalapeño but it is great hangover food.

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