In honor of Yom Ha’azmaut (Israel Independence Day) today, I decided to make a traditional Israeli dish that I’ve always wanted to try – Shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. Sometimes keeping it simple is so important to the flavors and integrity of the dish and I think that’s the case with this recipe. As you all know, I love to add surprising and unique ingredients to my dishes (Gushers Meatballs anyone?) but I kept this one nice and clean. Since I’ve never made Shakshuka before, the adventure of trying a new dish was adventure enough for me.

Shakshuka/Matbucha Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 roasted red pepper
1/2 roasted green pepper
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
salt to taste
3 eggs
parsley for garnish
crusty bread for garnish

I began by roasting the peppers in the oven. You can use jarred roasted peppers but there’s nothing better than fresh roasted peppers right out of the oven! I rubbed the peppers with a little bit of olive oil and broiled in the oven for around 10 minutes, turning the peppers every few minutes to make sure all sides blackened nicely without burning. I then placed the peppers in a paper bag and set them aside for at least 5 minutes to steam. This process causes the skin of the peppers to loosen so they are easier to peel.

I took the hot peppers out of the paper bag, peeled the blackened skin right off and chopped the peppers in to bite size pieces. It’s as easy as that!

In a large pan, I cooked the onion in olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onion looked almost clear. I stirred in the garlic, tomato paste, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes and cooked for 30 seconds. I then added the roasted peppers and stirred to combine.

I added the crushed tomatoes and a sprinkling of salt then simmered the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Since I was eating this shakshuka for lunch and there was a lot of the tomato mixture in the pan, I separated out a few ladles of the mixture in to a bowl then continued to prepare my meal. I cracked 3 eggs on top of the tomato mixture in the pan, covered and continued to cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the eggs were set.

I scooped the shakshuka in to a bowl and garnished with parsley and some crusty bread. Yum! The runny egg was so creamy and the tomato mixture was so flavorful and just a little bit spicy. If you want some added spice, you can throw in a bit of hot sauce or zhug at the end.

Now what to do with that extra tomato mixture that I set aside??? I put it right back in to the pan and simmered for another hour, stirring occasionally. The mixture thickened up considerably and became a beautiful and flavorful tomato chutney, also called matbucha in Hebrew. So if you want to just make a matbucha without the eggs, just follow all of the directions above, ignoring the eggs, and cook the mixture for 1-2 hours, until very thick. Just don’t forget to stir every once in a while so nothing burns.

The perfect dip with crusty bread or an exciting new lunch for my 20-month-old, Nora. I’m such a proud mommy!

From Shakshuka to Matbucha…
 
 

Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ roasted red pepper
  • ½ roasted green pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • parsley for garnish
  • crusty bread for garnish

Instructions
  1. Roast the peppers in the oven: Rub the peppers with a little bit of olive oil and broil in the oven for around 10 minutes, turning the peppers every few minutes to make sure all sides blacken nicely without burning. Then placed the peppers in a bag back and set them aside for 5 minutes to steam. This process causes the skin of the peppers to loosen so they are easier to peel. Take the hot peppers out of the paper bag, peel the blackened skin right off and chop the peppers in to bite size pieces.
  2. In a large pan, cook the onion in olive oil on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onion looks almost clear.
  3. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes. 4. Add the roasted peppers and stir to combine.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and a sprinkling of salt then simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  5. Crack 3 eggs on top of the tomato mixture in the pan, cover and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the eggs are set.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy with crusty bread!
  7. If you are making matbucha: Simmer the tomato mixture for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until very thick.