I have only been in Israel for a week, and have already gone through two containers of hummus, the ultimate Middle Eastern food. Two large containers. But as popular and tasty as hummus is, there are so many Middle Eastern and Israeli flavors worth experiencing. So when my roommates and I decided to plan our first group dinner, we wanted to cook something authentic and Israeli…but anything with hummus was out of the question. Shakshuka turned out to be the perfect choice – literally meaning “mixed up” in Hebrew, it is a dish made of eggs cooked over a simple tomato sauce spiked with spices. Our shakshuka was traditional, easy to make and, most important, delicious to eat!
Sarah McAnaw is a junior at American University where she studies International Studies and Biology. After cooking (and eating!) her way through a semester in Florence, Italy last fall, she’s headed south to Haifa, Israel this spring to study the Arab-Israeli conflict and experience the culinary flavors of the Middle East first hand.
Adapted from Delicious Shots
Serves 4 – 6 people (depending on how hungry you are)
Note: I tend to add more spice than is called for, so feel free to season to your liking. I was also cooking for five people, so I used five eggs instead of four. Depending on how many people you are feeding or how much of an appetite you have, this recipe can accommodate up to five eggs for an appropriate sauce-to-egg ratio.
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped parsley (optional)
Bread for mopping up extra sauce (I’d recommend pita for sticking with the Middle Eastern theme!)
In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover the mixture and lower the heat, and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Break down the tomatoes with a spoon or a potato masher.
Crack the eggs directly over the tomato sauce, making sure to space them out evenly over the surface of the sauce. Cover the pan and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how soft or well done you like your eggs. The whites should be fully cooked, but you can leave the yolks runny or cook ‘em til they’re solid.
Top the mixture with a drizzle of extra olive oil, black pepper and chopped parsley, and as they say in Hebrew, b’tayavon!