The best-baked eggs in the world – Shakshuka! A North African dish traditionally served up for breakfast, this Authentic shakshuka recipe is based on the Libyan summer version. The eggs are gently poached in a simmering mixture of fresh tomatoes, harissa, olive oil, garlic and warming spices.
Shakshuka! As Fun to Say as It Is to Eat.
Shakshuka pronounced Shahk-SHOO-Kah!
To put it simply, it's just eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. There are so many variations of this dish; it seems every region has its own take on this dish. I can't say I blame them, it's one of the most delicious 30-minute breakfasts that's fit for a king. You can never go wrong with serving shakshuka for breakfast or brunch.
Traditionally, this dish is only eaten for breakfast. However, It's also a great dinner speedy recipe and sometimes it's eaten by teenage Libyan boys at 3 am in the morning! (this was the tradition of the boy in my husband's generation. 🤷🏻♀️) Regardless, what time of day you decide to feast on this dish, it will deliver a seriously good meal.
I've based this recipe on authentic Libyan shakshuka, which is made with fresh tomatoes or tomato paste (when tomatoes aren't in season), olive oil, garlic, harissa, and Libyan baharat. Green onions can be added to the recipe but depend on the family. My mother-in-law adds them sometimes.
What is authentic shakshuka?
Now, I may stir up a bit of controversy regarding the origins of this dish because it's more known and popularized as a Tunisian recipe. However, the word "shakshak" is not a part of their delict.
The word is derived from the Libyan word "Shakshak," which means Braise or simmer. They use this word to describe the sound the tomatoes make well cooking. This word is actually not a traditional Arabic word! And it doesn't mean mixed up. It's actually a slang word from the mountains of Western Libya. (which is very close to Tunisia)
So, for Libyans, like my husband, this is enough proof that the origins of this recipe or at least the name of it, is actually Libyan. As a side note: Many Tunisian will often refer to this dish as Ojja.
Tunisians make shakshuka, pretty much the same as Libyans, but it is more common to find bell peppers and meat added to the recipe in the Tunisian versions. Their version is better known and pretty much found on every food blog on the internet.
How do you eat shakshuka?
With a nice piece of crusty bread, of course! It's not optional; it's the custom. 😉 Traditionally, when serving this dish, it's accompanied by lots of vegetable pickles, olives, Persian cucumbers, cheese, harissa and, of course, plenty of bread. Sometimes, it's served as a sandwich and other times; but most often you just use the bread to scoop and mop up the delicious saucy eggs.
Shakshuka: Simple Ingredients = Extreme Deliciousness
We bet you’ve got most of these veggies on-hand already. In addition to the basics (olive oil, salt) here’s what you’ll need to make this easy recipe:
- Plum tomatoes
- Ground Caraway or Libyan Baharat
- Green Chillie pepper
How to make Shakshuka
- Place all the ingredients into your frying pan, cover and simmer until the tomatoes are soft and easily broken with the back of your spoon.
- Once the tomatoes are soft, mash the tomatoes with a spoon so it becomes a chunky sauce.
- Make holes in the sauce for the eggs and gently drop the eggs into the holes. Cover and cook until eggs are to your desired doneness.
Tips for making this shakshuka recipe
- For the best sauce consistency: It’s important to let the sauce simmer and allow the tomatoes to break down and thicken in order to hold the eggs in place. But be careful not to reduce the sauce too much. The sauce is the key to a good authentic shakshuka.
- For runny eggs: If you prefer the eggs your runny, you’ll want to reduce the heat a couple of minutes before cracking the eggs into the pan. Once the yolks have set, spoon the sauce on top, so the top of the eggs cooks.
- For best presentation: If you want to make sure the dish doesn’t look like tomato scrambled eggs, make sure first that the sauce is thick enough. Also, make sure to create small indentations for dropping the cracked eggs. This allows the tomato sauce to nestle the cracked eggs in place, without having them spread out all over the pan.
More Libyan Recipes to Try
- 4 large eggs
- 3-4 plum tomatoes peeled, diced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- 1 jalapeno or chilli pepper of your choice
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground caraway or Libyan baharat optional
- Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, harissa, chilli peppers into a frying pan.
- Turn the heat on medium bring to a light simmer. Cover the pan ⏤ cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes can be easily crushed with the back of your spoon.
- After 10 minutes of light simmering, the tomatoes should be very soft & red. Break them with the back of a spoon, add caraway and stir. Then make four holes in the sauce and add the eggs.
- Cover with a lid and cook until the eggs are set to your liking.
- Meanwhile, heat your bread and set your table. Once the eggs are finished, remove from the heat, uncover and let slightly cool.
- 1# Traditional serving method for a family breakfast: Keep the shakshuka in the pan & place it on a trivet. Set the table with olives, cheeses, lots of crispy bread and pickles.
- 2# Traditional serving method: Make a sandwich. Cut open a baguette, spread a spoonful of harissa inside, break up the eggs into smaller pieces and then scoop the mixture into the baguette. Serve with olives, cheese and pickles.
- Try thinly slicing 2-3 green onions and adding them to the tomato mixture
- Add one tablespoon of finely diced parsley to the top of the eggs before serving.
- 1 tablespoon caraway, ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon 7-spice