This bright, saucy comfort from Sami Tamimi’s childhood in Palestine, modernized with a little Ottolenghi family flair, is one example of a lesser known style of shakshuka that’s nearly impossible to mess up. If you’ve ever felt anxious about poaching eggs, you needn’t: The eggs here are scrambled into the sauce, much like in Yemeni shakshuka and Turkish menemen, so they gently cook through and let you know when they’re done, without any guesswork.
As Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley write in their cookbook Falastin : “Shakshuka: the signature breakfast of the Middle East. It’s a wonderfully informal dish, brought to the table in the pan it’s cooked in and served straight from there. There are so many versions of shakshuka, all variations on the same theme of eggs cooked in a nice thick sauce. The eggs are usually braised, which is what we’ve done with the green shakshuka [in the book]. Here they’ve been gently scrambled.
“Playing around: The shakshuka base can go in all sorts of directions and colors—red here with the tomatoes and red bell pepper, or green with any leaves and herbs in need of using up. Either way, it’s a really versatile and robust dish, so feel free to play around with the spices and toppings. Spice-wise, for example, smoked paprika and roughly crushed caraway seeds work in the red shakshuka instead of the regular paprika and cumin seeds. Toppings-wise, for either of the shakshukas, chunks of tangy feta, black olives, or finely chopped preserved lemon peel work well dotted on top. A drizzle of tahini or a spoonful of yogurt is also great when serving, along with some crusty fresh bread and a crisp green salad.
“Getting ahead: The base sauce can be made a day or two ahead, up to the point before the eggs are added. The feta can also be marinated up to three days in advance. Make more of the feta than you need here, if you like; it’s a lovely thing to dot over roasted wedges of sweet potato, or all sorts of salads.”
A few more tips: Tara, a self-professed “pathological quadruple-batcher,” recommends making extra of the base sauce, so that you have it around to make shakshuka later in the week as well. Any leftovers of the eggs-included shakshuka also reheat shockingly well, so don’t be afraid to make too much.
Recipe adapted very slightly from Falastin (Ten Speed Press, June 2020).
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- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 2, generously
1 1/2 ounces
(45 grams) feta, roughly crumbled
(5 grams) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Aleppo chile flakes (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
(75 milliliters) olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons
coriander seeds, lightly toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
yellow or white onion, thinly sliced (1 2/3 cups / 150 grams)
red bell pepper, seeded and cut into long slices, 1/2-inch / 1 centimeter thick (5 ounces / 140 grams)
garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press or minced
cumin seeds, lightly toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
5 or 6
tomatoes, roughly chopped (18 ounces / 500 grams)
2 1/2 ounces
(75 grams) cherry tomatoes
red shatta (see recipe below) or rose harissa
(80 milliliters) water
Salt and black pepper
eggs, lightly beaten
- Shatta (optional)
(250 grams) red or green chiles (with seeds), stems trimmed, very thinly sliced
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil, to cover
- Place the feta in a bowl with the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of chile flakes, 3 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds. Mix well and set aside (in the fridge if making in advance) until needed.
- Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into a large sauté pan (with a lid at the ready) and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, tomato paste, paprika, and remaining 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds. Cook for another 1 minute, until fragrant, and then add all the tomatoes, the shatta, water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a generous grind of black pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.
- Add a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper to the eggs and mix well. Slowly pour this into the tomato mixture, swirling the pan and giving it a couple of gentle folds—you don’t want the eggs to be too mixed in. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and let cook for 4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, spoon the marinated feta over the top, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of chile flakes, and serve at once.
- Shatta (optional)
- Place the chiles and salt in a medium sterilized jar (see note below) and mix well. Seal the jar and store in the fridge for 3 days. On the third day, drain the chiles, transfer them to a food processor, and blitz; you can either blitz well to form a fine paste or roughly blitz so that some texture remains. Add the vinegar and lemon juice, mix to combine, then return the mixture to the same jar. Pour enough olive oil on top to cover, and keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The oil will firm up and separate from the chiles once it’s in the fridge, so just give it a good stir, for everything to combine, before using.
- Note: Sterilizing jars is a necessity when preserving foods (makdous, for example, or shatta). It ensures that all bacteria and yeasts are removed from a jar so that the food remains fresh. There are various ways to sterilize a glass jar. One is a water bath, where the jars go into water, with their lids added separately, the water is brought to a boil, and then the jars are “cooked” for 10 minutes. Another is filling the jars with just-boiled water and then rinsing and drying with a clean dish towel. We tend to just put ours into the dishwasher, though, and run it as a normal wash—it’s a simple solution that works very well.