Hello again. Looking back at my neglected blog I see I shared a recipe I found on Tiktok at the start of the pandemic. Well here we are four months later and the world has become even more tragically unstable than it was when I last posted. It seems appropriate to share another Tiktok inspired recipe as the giant oompaloompa attempts to ban the app over alleged security concerns. In my opinion this has less to do with Chinese spying and more to do with him getting word that Tiktok kids messed with his super-spreading event in Tulsa. Who knows what goes on in his deluded mind though.
Anyway, to the food.
I haven’t really been doing anything new over the last few months, my meals have been mostly rinse and repeat and I haven’t even been inspired to sit and tap out old favourites. I have also had an Asian lodger living with me through the lockdown, and he has been doing a lot of the cooking too, so I have been treated to all sorts of unfamiliar tastes. Some very delicious, some a bit more mundane. Kind of Asian meat and two veg.
One afternoon while wondering what to do about dinner and bored with the regular options, I came across Shakshuka. It instantly appealed to me as it ticks all my boxes in terms of simplicity and easy availability of ingredients. I just happened to have everything I needed in the cupboard so I gave it a go. It is apparently an ancient dish that dates back to the days of the Ottoman Empire where it originated, and is still popular all over North Africa and the Middle East. Good for breakfast lunch or dinner, it is quick, simple and delicious, you should give this a try.
The amounts given here were scoffed by two of us but I am sure you could stretch it out to feed more.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 large bell pepper of any colour you like or have to hand
- A good pinch of salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp chili flakes optional
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- Some crumbled feta optional
- Pita or crusty bread for serving
You’ll need a good sized frying pan or sautée pan with a lid for this if you want to do it all on the hob. You could also finish it off in the oven if you have no appropriate lid. More on that later.
On a medium heat, gently fry the onion and then the chopped pepper until they have softened. Add the garlic, tomato puree, cumin, paprika and chili flakes and stir for about a minute. This is the equivalent of frying your spices in a curry. It should already be smelling delicious.
Throw in the can of chopped tomatoes and add most of the parsley or coriander. Stir and reduce the heat to a low simmer, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as you see fit.
Simmer for as long as it takes for the sauce to thicken up sufficiently so you can make a depression in the sauce and it holds its shape, five, ten or fifteen minutes depending on how hot your hob is and how runny it was to start with.
Make a little well on the surface of the sauce to crack an egg into, in my case four wells for four eggs.
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over each egg and cover.
Shakshuka eggs should be runny but you can cook for longer if you prefer a firmer yolk. Anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes should do the trick.
Alternatively, if your pan is oven proof you can put it in the oven to bake the eggs. Or you can fry or poach the eggs on the side and add them as you serve.
Sprinkle with the feta and remaining parsley or coriander for garnish and serve with crusty bread or pita or any carb you like really.