by Sarah on March 29, 2009

This is a North African version of Huevos ranchero and a legacy of Spanish exploration. Made with tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, onions, garlic and eggs it is a great quick meal popular throughout the Middle East, except here it is not eaten with tortilla or avocado but pita bread. It all began with the Spaniards who were fresh from their latest expeditions to Mexico and Guatemala and introduced Tunisia to chili peppers and tomatoes, both new world crops. The Tunisian took an affinity for the peppers and added them to a prolific number of dishes, including shakshuka, resulting in a fiery and lively cuisine. This dish is found throughout North Africa and it is a popular way of preparing eggs. Tunisians have other versions of the famous Shakshuka egg dish, which includes potatoes, cauliflowers, carrots, and salami. After all shakshuka means “to mix it all up” and there are many ways of preparing it.
In Israel there is a restaurant dedicated to Tripolitan cuisine called Dr. Shakshuka, and is a good place to try, well, shakshuka. Just whatever you do don’t ask for shakshuka in Sudan, or at least be careful who you ask because there it means a young women of low moral standing.
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 hot pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
4-5 eggs
Olive oil
Fry the onion in olive oil until translucent, add garlic and stir for a few moments. Add the peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste and cook until the peppers are soft and the sauce it reduced (add a little water if necessary), add the spices and mix. Break the eggs over the sauce cover cook until egg white are cooked through. Add coriander. Serve with bread.
***For stronger flavor, roast the peppers before adding them to the sauce. Some like to separate the eggs and add only the yolks so they don’t become overcooked while waiting for the whites to set.
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