My family has been making Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce, or Shakshouka, for as long as I can remember. We just called it eggs in tomato sauce. But according to a cookbook about Jerusalem cuisine, the name is derived from the Hebrew verb leshakshek, “to shake”, also meaning “a mixture”. And what a mixture this is! Usually, I just poach the eggs in seasoned tomato sauce simmered with sautéed garlic, but for this rendition I bumped up the sauce for a bit more heat and texture, adhering closely to the traditional Shakshouka recipe.
Chunky diced tomatoes and vegetables makes this dish hearty and robust. And the cumin, chili powder and paprika make it earthy and smoky.
The eggs are typically cooked over-easy, but go crazy and make them to your personal preference! Cook them to your liking and if a few guests at the table want them over-medium or hard, just add them sooner than the rest.
What a great meal for any time of the day. This is also good served with toast or homemade hash brown potatoes to soak up the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cans or boxed (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained or 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
- Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5-6 eggs
- ½ tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cast iron works well.
- Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
- Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended.
- Add chili powder, cumin and paprika. Add cayenne and sugar if desired and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until sauce starts to reduce and thicken.
- Taste to see if you want to add more sugar or cayenne pepper for your taste.
- Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
- Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.
- Some people prefer their eggs more runny. If this is your preference, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top-- then, cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired.