What is Shakshuka?
Shakshuka is a North African dish that has migrated to other countries and is very popular throughout the Middle East. Shakshuka (pronounced Shak Shoe Kah) literally means “a mixture” or “shaken” in Tunisian.
A traditional Shakshuka recipe is a simple combination of poached eggs simmering in a spiced thick tomato sauce. However, you can find hundreds of Shakshuka recipe variations. Some have a tomato base, and others are made with cream and fresh greens. No matter what, they always feature eggs cooked in a thick sauce.
But really, this Shakshuka recipe is merely a canvas for you. You can add absolutely any veggies that cross your mind: mushrooms, spinach, carrots, zucchini, eggplant… lentils too. Make it spicy or mild, and play with the flavors. The possibilities are endless.
I called the recipe “Israeli Shakshuka” because this is the most common Shakshuka you will find in any Israeli Café or breakfast place.
*The full recipe is in the recipe card below!
Eggs: Eggs are the star of this Shakshuka recipe. I highly recommend using large, cage-free, and organic eggs. However, any eggs will work in this recipe. The eggs cook better when they are at room temperature, but it is optional.
Tomatoes: I like canned (fire-roasted) tomatoes, so the dish gets done quickly. But you can make Shakshuka with fresh tomatoes or any canned tomatoes.
Bell peppers: Red, green, yellow, or orange.
Spices: The basics are salt, pepper, sugar, and paprika. But you can also add ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper.
Jalapeños (optional): For spiciness. To reduce the heat of jalapeños, remove the inner membrane that connects the seeds to the walls of the pods. Other options for spiciness include harissa paste, cayenne pepper, and chili flakes.
How to Make Shakshuka?
It’s really easy to make Shakshuka, especially if you use canned tomatoes.
Step 1: Prepare all the veggies.
Step 2: Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide skillet. Add the chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeños, and cook for 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.
Step 3: Season with your heart and cook for at least 5 minutes until the veggies are tender.
Step 4: Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar, and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens slightly for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the skillet from the heat. Using a spoon, make 4 to 6 wells in the sauce. Carefully crack an egg into each well, then spoon a bit of the sauce over each egg white. Cook for 7 to 15 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
Step 6: Sprinkle it with cilantro and Feta cheese. Serve hot with pita or bread.
The sauce: Get the sauce nice and thick. You need a thick tomato sauce, so don’t cut the cooking time short. Taste the sauce before adding the eggs, and adjust the flavors to your liking.
The eggs: To avoid egg shells in your dish, you can crack your eggs into a small bowl first and then pour them into the pan.
Adjust the timing depending on how you like your eggs. Traditionally, shakshuka is served with a poached egg with a runny yolk in the center. If you don’t like your egg yolks runny, simply cook the shakshuka longer. How long you cook your eggs depends on how you like them.
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- Chef knife optional
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3-5 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
- optional 2-3 jalapeños stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Two 14-ounce (400g) cans of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) granulated sugar
- 4-6 large eggs at room temperature
Optional for garnish:
- fresh cilantro or parsley and crumbled Feta cheese.
- In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeños, and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
- Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook for at least 5 minutes until the veggies are tender.
- Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar, and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens slightly for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the flavors; add salt and pepper if needed. If you find Shakshuka too acidic add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Using a spoon, make 4 to 6 wells in the sauce. Carefully crack an egg into each well, then spoon a bit of the sauce over each egg white. Cook for 7 to 15 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and Feta cheese. Serve hot with pita or bread.