Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Masala Herb

Shakshuka Breakfast Overhead
Shakshuka


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



Today's Tuesday Tutor: Masala Herb
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Recipe: Shakshuka

My tutor today is Helene from Masala Herb, a talented Austrian/French blogger now happily married and living in Goa, India. The Masala Herb blog is devoted to sharing exotic local ingredients used in fascinating dishes. Often both the ingredients and recipes are unfamiliar to me and a source of continual intrigue.

Today's recipe for Shakshuka is a great example of an unfamiliar recipe I couldn't resist trying. Helene says Shakshuka is a favorite Israeli breakfast and after sampling the interplay between the soft-cooked eggs and savory, chunky tomato sauce, I can see why. It's also a beautiful dish that could easily serve 6-8 people (just add a few more eggs) - perfect for brunch with the in-laws. For even more fascinating ingredients and recipes, drop by Helene's marvelous Masala Herb blog.

About the Author
  1. "I love discovering new cooking ingredients. It might be some fruits, veggies, meats or seasonings or anything else eatable (except insects!). I get double excited, if that new ingredient is mesmerizing and if I can use it in different ways in my cooking."
  2. "My mum used to make Veg soup too often when I was a kid, now I have trouble just looking at it."
  3. "I was a Vegetarian for 1 year. I tried, but its not for me! I was missing my European meats. *sigh*"
  4. "Cooking was my most hated subject in school and college time. Only in the last year of college I started to enjoy it. The teacher in the last year was a wonderful person, she kind of inspired us all. I discovered my love for cooking in India. I was missing all those wonderful European dishes and the restaurants here at that time just didn't satisfy my needs. So, I tried to cook wherever I used to stay, even though it was difficult and me and my husband couldn't live together because of the culture..."
  5. "Eating Indian food at the beginning was a torture for me! My body was not used to spices and I got quickly sick, I recovered but still, the chilli was too much... Eventually, my mother in law introduced me to some excellent dishes and I guess I just got used to it. Anyway, now I just love Indian food and the spice dimensions of this particular cuisine!"



How to Make: Shakshuka
Original recipe courtesy of Masala Herb
For a printable recipe with complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

Large Onion, Peeled and Halved
Shakshuka is a very easy recipe with just a few preparation steps. It all starts with one large
yellow onion. Peel the onion and dice.

Onion Diced
For an even faster dice, I used my onion dicer gadget

3 Large Ripe Tomatoes
Next comes the tomatoes. You will need about 1.25 pounds of very ripe tomatoes. I found
these 3 large tomatoes which were just over 1 pound.

Stem Tops Removed from Tomatoes
Remove the top stem joint...

Diced Tomatoes
...and finely dice the tomatoes. The smaller the tomato chunks, the faster they will break down
into the final tomato sauce. 

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil in Large Saute Pan
To start the sauce, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Diced Onion Added to Hot Saute Pan
Once the pan is hot, add the diced onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
While the onion sautés, you will have time to mince the jalapeño pepper and prepare the garlic

Green Jalepeno Pepper
You need one small hot green pepper. I used jalapeño but you could really use any spicy green
pepper - as long as you're ok with the heat from the pepper you select.

Halved and Cleaned Jalepeno
Halve the pepper and scrape out the seeds and white parts of the pepper. Most of the heat is
in the seeds and white parts, so if you like a little more spicy heat, add some of the seeds or
white parts rather than discarding...

Thinly Sliced Jalepeno
Thinly slice the jalapeño...

Finely Diced Jalepeno
...then finely mince the jalapeño...

4 Garlic Cloves with Garlic Press
Peel 4 cloves of garlic and mince. I used my garlic press which saves a lot of time spent mincing.

Pressed Garlic Added to Translucent Onions
Add the garlic to the sautéed onions and cook garlic for a minute until fragrant.

Diced Tomatoes Added to Onions in Saute Pan
Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 5-8 minutes until tomatoes have softened and begun
to break down into a sauce...

Minced Jalepeno Added to Tomatoes and Onions
Add the minced jalapeño to the sautéed tomatoes and onions...

Homemade Tomato Paste
Next comes the tomato paste. I used homemade tomato paste but you could always use paste
from a tube or can. You will need about 1/3 cup of tomato paste.

Dried Oregano
You will also need about 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Tomato Paste, Oregano and Kosher Salt Added to Tomatoes
Add the tomato paste, oregano and about 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the tomatoes. Stir
together and then simmer over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check
the seasonings and adjust if needed.

4 Pasturized Eggs
Once the tomato sauce is thickened and reduced, you're ready to crack in the eggs. Since you
should NOT hard-cook the eggs, I used pasteurized eggs. I used 4 eggs which was enough for
me and Boyfriend Javelin to each have 2 servings. But if you're cooking for a crowd, just
add more eggs. 

Reduced Tomato Sauce with Hole for Egg
To add the eggs, first make a "hole" in the sauce with a spoon as shown...

Egg Cracked into Tomato Sauce
Crack open the egg and drop into the hole you created...

4 Eggs Cracked into Tomato Sauce
Repeat the last two steps for the remaining eggs. Then cover the sauté pan with a tight-fitting
lid and cook over medium-low heat for another 5-7 minutes until the eggs are just set but
NOT cooked through all the way...

Eggs Cooked in Tomato Sauce Until Just Set
When the eggs are just set, the whites will turned bright white and the yolk will just be starting
to change from bright yellow to a deeper color...

Shakshuka Israeli Breakfast Closeup
Remove from heat and serve immediately. You really do need to be ready scarf down these eggs
as soon as you take off the heat or the eggs will continue to cook and you'll miss out on the
delicious runny yolk/tomato pairing...

Serving of Shakshuka Closeup
Try not to break the yolk while serving - part of the fun and deliciousness of this dish comes
from breaking the yolk yourself :)

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • We've all had eggs for breakfast - and while delicious, eggs rarely surprise. Some of us may have had tomatoes at breakfast (particularly as ketchup over eggs) - but I guarantee most of us have never had tomatoes with eggs like Shakshuka before. The savory spice from the oregano and jalapeno add depth to the acidic bite of the tomatoes and when the creamy soft yolks break into the sauce, the subtle yolky flavor mixed with tomato is so intriguing.
     
  • The tomato sauce was a little too acidic for my taste so you may want to add a little sugar or a minced carrot to your sauce to break acidity. I also found it helps to serve Shakshuka with a side of bread or toast - which also gives your palette a break from the intensity of the tomatoes. Helene recommended serving with flat bread, but since I had baguette on hand, that's what I used instead.
     
  • If you prefer a really spicy sauce, you can include some or all of the jalapeno seeds and white inner parts. Or you could use a spicier pepper. I prefer just a little heat, so I removed all the seeds and white inner parts.
     
  • Don't overcook the eggs! You want the yolks to still be runny when you serve otherwise you will never get to enjoy the subtle fascinating flavor pairing of the yolk with the tomatoes. Hard-cooked yolks just don't taste the same. If you're concerned about consuming raw yolks, I recommend using pasteurized eggs as I did.

10 comments:

  1. Oh wow Javelin, you did an excellent job here. I myself am tempted to make my own batch right now, addicted to that stuff. ^.^ Interesting that you used Jalapeno peppers in the recipe, we don't get those here, but I am definitely keen to know what the shakshuka tastes like with it, I bet absolutely great!

    Some type of bread has to be with the dish right? Makes it all the more sweeter. Oh and apropos sweet, you are right, if you guys like it more sweet then just add some sugar to the recipe. Thumbs up to that!

    I thank you for featuring the recipe here on your wonderful space, it is an honor my friend! ;)

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  2. I too am always in awe when I visit Helene's blog Javelin. I must say though, I've never seen this intriguing dish before on her blog. I must go back and see what other goodies I may have over looked. You did a GREAT job and I thank you for sharing...

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  3. this looks so good! reminds of an Italian recipe - Baked Eggs in Pomorodo Sauce. Got to make this for tomorrow's breakfast

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  4. Thanks so much for being my tutor today, Helene! I'm so glad you enjoyed today's post and I'm so glad I had an opportunity to share. I love discovering new unexpected combinations like this Shakshuka!

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  5. I remember when I first saw this dish by Helene and I was captivated - I knew I'd have to try it at some point! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and definitely give it a try for something new for breakfast...

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  6. I've never head the Italian version, but it seems this is also similar to a Tex-Mex breakfast as well, so I suspect there are different variations depending on cultural heritage :) If you get a chance to try this, make sure to let Helene and I know what you think...

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  7. oh I love this recipe, made it for lunch. I don't have
    enough tomatoes, so I added some eggplant but I overcook the eggs.
    Definitely will make this dish over and over again.

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  8. I'm so glad you tried it, Shannon! Another friend of mine recommended adding coriander, so I plan to try both eggplant and coriander the next time I make Shakshuka...

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  9. Excellent choice! Helene's site is terrific, and this is a wonderful recipe. Great job - thanks to you both!

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  10. I'm so glad you enjoyed, John. This was a wonderful surprising dish for me...

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