Shakshuka with a bite
Vanity is such a pervasive sin. It comes in all shapes and forms and many are susceptible to it. Mine today was triggered a while ago whilst “flicking” through some web pages on food. It came in the form of a traditional North African dish called Shakshuka (which means mixture in Arabic). It is, many believe, originally from Tunisia but it has now stretched its wings as far as Israel where it has become so popular that some now erroneously believe Shakshuka has its origins in Israel. Those long wings were stretched further into my kitchen in London today, not because I thought Shakshuka will be incredibly delicious, but purely because there is something about a red tomato base sauce with half-baked eggs as toppings that looks amazingly great. The kaleidoscope of colours I’d imagined will always make shakshuka stand out amongst mono coloured dishes.
Green, yellow and red bell peppers, 4 eggs, 4 medium sized tomatoes, 1 medium sized onion, some spices and about an hour later I had managed to conjure up Shakshuka. As with many other North African dishes the variations can be huge both in ingredients used and time used in cooking. For example, I could have used all sorts of peppers, but went with ¾ of a scotch bonnet for this recipe. Scotch bonnets are incredibly fiery but not native to North Africa. This is Shakshuka with a more West African or Caribbean bite! In Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Somalia, and Yemen shakshuka in all its variations is a staple. Even though traditionally Shakshuka is eaten with bread there is a West African version of an equally easy to make one pot egg stew that usually goes with rice. What I like about this dish the most apart from its texture and flavour is the fact that it passes off as breakfast, lunch or dinner.