Shakshuka – the tastiest souvenir from Israel

It’s always difficult to cook your favourite meals from your travels at home. You won’t get the right ingredients, you can’t find the spices and herbs, there is no sand underneath your toes, and it’s simply not the same. Still, I always try to keep the memories alive with one or two little meals that also work at home.

Shakshuka is a meal that found its way straight from Israel onto my table. It is basically a breakfast stew made from tomatoes, which the Israeli people eat throughout the whole day. It fills you up for a long time, but is not heavy – which is important especially on hot days. When I was there, I had a good shakshuka in the morning and dinner in the evening – between, I just needed some ice cream and fresh fruit juice to keep me alive. It is low on carbs and depending on the version also includes high quality proteines. And it tastes simply awesome! For us Austrians, such a savoury hot breakfast might sound weird, but it provides you with all the long lasting energy you need for the day. Maybe you try it as lunch or dinner first when you are used to sweet breakfasts or muesli, but believe, me you should try it as a start of the day too.

You can cook it in uncountable variations. This recipe is for the basic version of it. But you can add tuna, goat cheese, other fish or meat, normal cheese, olives, I even saw a version with herbs like basil. You can use all the stuff that’s left in your fridge and create new sensations every time you cook it :-) In the desert with the small kitchen they had, I got it with hard boiled eggs. You can eat it spicy and you can add dips and the classic Israeli salad as side dishes. I really love to combine it with crusty bread, because it’s amazing to dip it into the stew.

You can prepare the stew base in advance and even freeze it in to have something you can heat up in hungry times. Just one advice, I personally recommend to use canned tomatoes, because you will hardly find really ripe tomatoes here, especially in winter. So here we go:

For one hungry person I use:

  • 200 ml of canned tomatoes including the juice
  • 1 small onion in cubes, 1 piece of minced garlic
  • 1 fresh chili pepper, or chili powder (if you want to have it spicy)
  • 1/2 bell pepper in squares
  • a teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt, pepper, cumin, actually every kind of spice you prefer
  • 1-2 eggs (depending how hungry you are)

Roast the onion cubes and garlic for some minutes in the olive oil, add the peppers, but don’t let it get too dark (and bitter). Put the tomatoes including the juice onto the mix and stir a little. Add all the spices and herbs as well as the chili and let it cook for a while on middle heat. Allow the juice to cook in a little. In the meanwhile, you can preheat your oven, because the eggs will ned a lot of heat to bake.
When you have the feeling that the tomato-mix is creamy enough, put it into a metal or pottery oven plate and put the raw eggs onto it (like if you want to make fried eggs). Place the plate carefully (to keep the egg white separated from the yolk) onto a higher level of your oven and give the eggs about 10 – 15 mins to bake. You will see when they are ready ;-) After taking the plate out, you can add some fresh parsley if you want or fresh pepper directly onto the eggs. And please be cautious when you start to eat – it will be very hot ;-)

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