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
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
- "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."
- "My mum used to make Veg soup too often when I was a kid, now I have trouble just looking at it."
- "I was a Vegetarian for 1 year. I tried, but its not for me! I was missing my European meats. *sigh*"
- "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..."
- "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
|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.
|For an even faster dice, I used my onion dicer gadget|
|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.
|Remove the top stem joint...|
|...and finely dice the tomatoes. The smaller the tomato chunks, the faster they will break down|
into the final tomato sauce.
|To start the sauce, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.|
|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
|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.
|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 slice the jalapeño...|
|...then finely mince the jalapeño...|
|Peel 4 cloves of garlic and mince. I used my garlic press which saves a lot of time spent mincing.|
|Add the garlic to the sautéed onions and cook garlic for a minute until fragrant.|
|Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 5-8 minutes until tomatoes have softened and begun|
to break down into a sauce...
|Add the minced jalapeño to the sautéed tomatoes and onions...|
|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.
|You will also need about 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves|
|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.
|To add the eggs, first make a "hole" in the sauce with a spoon as shown...|
|Crack open the egg and drop into the hole you created...|
|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...
|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...
|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...
|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.