Shakshuka: A Breakfast Of Eggs Poached in Spiced Tomato Sauce

Shakshuka, a delectable Middle Eastern dish, boasts a rich history and origin dating back centuries. Believed to have originated in North Africa, its name is derived from the Arabic word "shakshek," meaning "to mix." Over time, the dish migrated to Israel, where it became an integral part of Israeli cuisine. The combination of eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce, often infused with peppers, onions, and fragrant herbs, creates a tantalising blend of flavours. The popularity of Shakshuka has transcended borders, captivating food enthusiasts worldwide with its simple yet delightful preparation and versatile nature. Its appeal lies in the harmonious marriage of fresh ingredients, bold spices, and the joy of breaking into perfectly poached eggs swimming in a luscious, savoury sauce, making it a beloved dish cherished far beyond its roots in the Middle East.

Poaching Eggs in Shakshuka

Achieving the perfect poached egg for Shakshuka requires precision and attention to detail. To start, ensure that the tomato sauce is gently simmering, not boiling vigorously. Create a gentle whirlpool in the sauce by stirring it before adding the eggs. This swirling motion helps the egg whites wrap around the yolk neatly. For a runny yolk, poach the eggs for about 3-4 minutes, maintaining a low simmer. For a medium-cooked yolk, aim for 5-6 minutes, and for fully cooked, go for 7-8 minutes. However, the exact timing may vary based on the size of the eggs and the heat intensity. Keep a close eye on the eggs to avoid overcooking. Once done, remove the eggs carefully with a slotted spoon and serve them atop the flavourful Shakshuka sauce for a delightful and satisfying dish.

Serving Suggestions

Serving Shakshuka with traditional accompaniments enhances the overall dining experience. Pita bread, toasted or fresh, serves as an ideal utensil to scoop up the luscious tomato sauce and eggs. Israeli salad, a refreshing mix of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and herbs, complements Shakshuka's flavours with its crunchy texture and tangy taste.

In addition to the classics, other side dishes like hummus, tahini, or labneh provide a creamy and savoury contrast. Sprinkle fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro over the Shakshuka for a burst of colour and aroma. For an added touch, serve the dish in a cast-iron skillet or colourful ceramic dish, keeping the eggs intact, garnished with a pinch of paprika or sumac. A drizzle of olive oil and a few crumbs of feta cheese on top can further elevate the presentation, creating an enticing and Instagram-worthy meal that is as delightful to the eyes as it is to the palate.

Shakshuka's allure lies in its rich history, vibrant flavours, and versatility that has captivated food enthusiasts worldwide. The delightful combination of poached eggs in spiced tomato sauce, paired with various accompaniments, creates a sensory feast that satisfies both the palate and the soul. Encouraging readers to try making Shakshuka at home allows them to embark on a culinary journey, embracing the simplicity and joy of preparing a dish that brings people together. With its wonders waiting to be discovered, Shakshuka promises a flavourful and rewarding experience for all who indulge in its delicious embrace.

Recipe For Shakshuka

                                        Video Credits: Chef Ranveer Brar/YouTube


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)

1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)

1 can (400g) diced tomatoes (or 4-5 large fresh tomatoes, chopped)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

4-6 large eggs

Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (for garnish)


Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or frying pan over medium heat.

Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until it becomes translucent and slightly caramelised.

Stir in the diced red bell pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it softens.

Add the minced garlic, ground cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and ground coriander (if using). Cook for 1-2 minutes until the spices become fragrant, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and let the sauce cook for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens and the flavours meld together.

With the back of a spoon, make small wells in the sauce and carefully crack the eggs into each well. Space them out evenly in the skillet.

Cover the skillet with a lid and let the eggs cook in the sauce for about 5-7 minutes, or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still slightly runny (adjust cooking time according to your preference).

Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove the skillet from heat. Be cautious not to overcook the eggs, as they will continue to cook from the residual heat.

Garnish the Shakshuka with chopped cilantro or parsley.

Serve the Shakshuka hot directly from the skillet with crusty bread, pita, or any bread of your choice for dipping and savouring the delicious tomato sauce and poached eggs.

Enjoy your homemade Shakshuka, a delightful and flavourful Middle Eastern dish that's perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner!