The traveling shakshuka

by Sarah on May 24, 2012

shakshuka, eggs with tomatoes

Did you know that shakshuka has become a common dish in Goa? Really! I read it in Masala Herb blog (she has lots of interesting recipes there, worth a visit), written by an expat (or soon to be ex-expat) living in the land of paradise.  Israelis who have settled in Goa have introduced this flavorful egg and tomato medley to the locals.

Coming from a small country, Israelis have a propensity to travel to far off destinations and often get homesick for their favorite foods. Take Nelson, New Zealand for example. I always dreamt of opening my very own sambusak stand on the South Island but someone beat me to it . Then there’s the falafel eatery in Fairbanks Alaska, part of the culinary landscape along with bear salami.

There are some who say shakshuka isn’t Israeli at all, but an Arab dish (or vice versa). Anyone who claims exclusivity for most ethnic foods does not view it globally, or even outside of their tiny neighborhood. I imagine cuisine as a cloud, amorphous and ever changing, blanketing large parts of land below. Small pieces break away and end up far from its origin. As the weathervanes spin the entire mass can migrate swiftly new regions. Indeed, Lebanese food in Latin America or French food in China has become the norm as cultures intermingle.

eggs

Food history can be studied, just as a meteorologist can detect the movement of the atmosphere.  The providence of a certain dish may sometimes be pinpointed to a specific time and place but more often it is lost to history. In the case of shakshuka it was originally made in North Africa, mainly by Tunisians and Libyans and was adopted by the Jews there as well. With the instability caused by the shifting political climate the majority of Jews immigrated to Israel, bringing their food traditions with them.

So this dish is “owned” by a religiously and culturally diverse group, a group who have a lot more in common than they’d like to believe.

shakshuka

Tomato Shakshuka

There are many variations of shakshuka, such as spinach and cauliflower, but tomato is by far the most popular. Tomatoes are indigenous to South America so perhaps we should give credit to them for this favorite Middle Eastern dish.

I peeled the tomatoes in this recipe but it isn’t necessary.

6-7 super ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (if you have mediocre produce it’s better to used canned high quality Italian tomatoes)

1/2 hot chili pepper, minced (optional)

1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (only for subpar tomatoes)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic gloves, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt/pepper

3-4 eggs (I separated the eggs and only used the yolks since my son wanted to make Pavlova)

A small bunch coriander or parsley, finely chopped

Olive or vegetable oil, a couple of tablespoons or enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Coat the bottom of a deep pan with olive oil and add the onions. Fry on medium heat until the onions soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and stir until it releases its aroma. Add chili and the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become soft and release their moisture, about 20 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add ½ cup of water and stir. If using, add the tomato paste.  Add the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and stir.

With a spoon, make a few small notches in the sauce and add the eggs into them (if the eggs are perched on top of the sauce it takes longer for them to cook). Do not stir. Cover the pan and let cook until the eggs are set.  If using whole eggs and soft yolks are preferred, it’s a good idea to separate the eggs. Use only the yolks or add the whites first since they take longer to set. Decorate with coriander or parsley and serve immediately.

Serve with tomato and cucumber salad  and lots of hallah bread to dunk in the sauce.

Balkan variations: add roasted peppers, feta cheese and grilled eggplants when serving.

Shakshuka pictures from restaurants across Israel.

 

 

 

 

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa May 24, 2012 at 8:52 am

I love shakshukah! A great summer dish. I didn’t know that it was so popular in Goa.

Cheers,

Rosa

Reply

Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb May 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Thats the beauty of food! no matter where u are or what religion you belong too, food will always connect us. As you have formulated it so graciously, a cloud describes it all to the best! Our ancestors created traditions and so we continue to reinvent ourselves, which is totally exciting, when you think that you can be part of all that in the hear and now. =)

By the way we used to have lots of Falafel stands in Goa too. I remember even seeing a Israeli veg roll stuffed with some lemony cream in Pushkar (Rajasthan). Now I don’t know if that was actually Israeli but we used to call it like that since all Israelis would sit there till late night. ^.^

Thanks Sarah for a fun Shakshuka post!!
I was thinking of making some for fathers day, since my parents don’t know this dish yet. Looking at your recipe I have discovered that I have never thought before of adding cumin to the recipe. so.. I thank you for the inspiration too. ;)

Reply

Eha May 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm

How delightful! Had never heard of the term – now, suddenly, have two recipes for it. Thank you for your absolutely beautiful photos, interesting recipe AND pointing us towards the ‘Masala Herb’ blog :) !

Reply

usha May 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Beautiful post . I did not know that Shashuka was so easy to cook.
Many years ago( and by virtue of which my memory of that meal is hazy) an Afghan friend cooked a dish for us that certainly had eggs nestled in a medley of veggies of which tomatoes played an integral and prominent part.
I wonder now, was that acousin of the shashuka ?

Reply

CJ at Food Stories May 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

Reply

OysterCulture May 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Wow, that is my kind of dish. I had no idea it was such a world traveler.

Reply

Chris September 13, 2012 at 5:41 am

From the moment I first saw shakshuka (and that was just a photo) I new I would love it. Wonderful post. I like the concept of your blog (hm, appears to be slightly similar to mine).

Reply

Sarah September 13, 2012 at 7:09 am

Thank you Chris, Glad to be introduced to your blog as well

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: