Shakshuka, also known as Eggs in Purgatory, is heaven on earth. By far my favorite savory breakfast dish, it consists of a dreamy tomato and bell pepper based sauce with eggs poached directly in the sauce. It draws on international roots spanning North Africa and the Middle East; shakshuka is thought to be from Tunisia or the Ottoman Empire. Regardless of its pedigree, it is welcome addition to any table.

Although I usually make shakshuka on the weekends when time is no object, I like to keep a batch of sauce in the freezer for quick fixes. For the vegans out there, don’t discount this recipe yet. Despite eggs taking center stage for the vegetarian version, it is the sauce that is the diva. It would be divine as a dip for fresh baked pita or seedy bagel. The recipe below serves two generously, but could easily be multiplied for larger crowds or stockpiling.


For this recipe, you will need

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 medium onion, sliced in thin crescents
1 cup stewed tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes
½ cup chopped barbecued red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (my favorite for addition of smoky flavor) or fresh peppers
1 tablespoons honey, sugar, or maple syrup
½ teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
4 eggs
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems are fine
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley, stems are fine
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Medium cast iron frying pan
Wooden spoon
Knife and cutting board
Lid that fits the frying pan or a cookie sheet

1. Heat the oil in the pan until it thins and coats the pan evenly.
2. Add the seeds and toast until a few pop.
3. Add the onions to stop the toasting. Stir to keep seeds from burning.
4. When the onions are translucent, but not soft, add the tomatoes, bell peppers, honey, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Cook, uncovered with stirring to prevent sticking, until the ingredients become saucy.
5. Taste for salt and add salt if necessary.
6. Gently crack the eggs into the sauce for poaching. Top with cilantro, parsley, and pepper. Cover with the lid or cookie sheet.
7. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove from the heat and serve. For extra authenticity (and fewer dishes) I like to bring the frying pan directly to the table.
8. Enjoy with fellow activists.

Posted in Green Grub.