Shakshuka to shake your taste : The Tribune India

food talk

Shakshuka to shake your taste

Shakshuka to shake your taste


Pushpesh Pant

EGGS are just wonderful! That’s where, we are told, all life began. There is the cosmological myth that the Brahmand exploded with a big bang to bring our universe into existence. The debate continues to rage what came first, the chicken or the egg? An equally contentious issue is to categorise eggs with vegetables. Blissfully, all those who love eggs don’t have to put them all in one or the other philosophical or ideological basket.

There are many delicious forms to partake of eggs — boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, omelettes and more. Indians have improvised on the omelette and the scrambled theme with gay abandon. There is the North Indian bhurji and the Hyderabadi/Awadhi khagina both quite different from the Parsi akuri. Not to forget, the variety of curried eggs and the Malayali egg roast. Here we wish to share with our beloved readers the joy of shakshuka or those who are willing to try it out.

Shakshuka, literally translated as a mixture, is a dish from Maghreb, the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Shakshuka is equally popular in Israel, Turkey and a few other Mediterranean countries. All of them claim that they created it and have slightly different variations on the theme. What is common to all is a flavourful, spicy (not hot) thick sauce prepared with cumin, coriander and chilly powders incorporating onions, garlic, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers. It is prepared with olive oil and is garnished with cilantro. If you like, it can be enriched with cheese and sausages or cooked mince. Although usually served as breakfast, the colourful pan presents a healthy but tasty balanced meal that can serve as a satisfying lunch or supper. Do try this exotic yet familiar dish.



Eggs 6

Tomatoes 250 gm

Onion (chopped) 1 large

Garlic 1/2 pod

Bell peppers 1

(Red 1/2 and Green 1/2)

Cumin powder 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder 1 tsp

Green chillies 2 (deseeded, chopped optional)

Salt to taste

Olive oil or butter 2 tbsp


  • Peel and chop onions. Peal, separate cloves of garlic and crush or chop. Scald the tomato in boiling water, remove skin when cool and mash to obtain puree. Wipe clean the bell peppers and remove the core. Cut into small pieces.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and stir-fry on medium flame till translucent. Put in the garlic and continue stir-frying for another 30 seconds. Pour in the tomato puree, raise the flame a little and add all powdered spices, salt along with bell peppers and chillies. Stir till the tomatoes are cooked.
  • Cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked and slightly mashed (the lentils should be of thin custard-like consistency).
  • Break eggs in a cup, one at a time. Make a hollow with the saddle in middle of the pan in cooking mixture and gently slide eggs, one by one, into it. Now lower the flame to medium, and cover the pan. Simmer till eggs are poached and set to taste. Bring the pan to the table, slice the set egg mix like a pizza into individual portions and enjoy!

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