Shakshuka – our spicy, tomato with egg
Our low calorie lunch… or a hangover brunch !
( The way we do it makes it about 150 -200 calories per person )
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For 2 people.
1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 – 2 chopped or minced garlic cloves
1 – 2 tins tomatoes + optional cherry tomatoes
large pinch chili flakes, or small pinch cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to season to taste
1-2 eggs each !
2 tablespoons / a handful of fluffy grated ( micro-grated makes it look more ! ) parmesan cheese
( it’s probably about 10g of cheese)
optional fresh herbs in the middle ( oregano, thyme, rosemary), or to finish (basil, mint, parsley, coriander)
Kitchen tools I used
Micro grater – ‘We keep our microplane easy to reach for with the knives now because we use it just as often as picking up a knife. You can get different size graters but I think the fine one is best for mincing. We still use the box grater for bigger grating, e.g for carrots. In this recipe you can use the micrograter for the raw garlic and for the parmesan.
Large knife and Board – We like to use the heel of a large chef knife for the almond crunching, and big long lasting commercial style boards, and they’ve lasted us forever ! Using the right colour board for the right food is a pet nag of mine ! ( A wooden board is nice too for chopping bread, cheese, or nuts. )
With a micrograter, raw garlic comes out easily like a purée, making it perfect for putting into raw salads and dressings too ! It does the same with frozen ginger pieces. With a purée, its so much easier to mix the flavours in.
- Use tinned tomatoes, whole is best. Chopped if fine as long as you have some solid chunky pieces to cook with and not just juice! Tinned is better than fresh but sometimes, if our tinned tomatoes are too ‘liquidy’ we add more cherry style tomatoes and cook it down for longer
- For chili, use whatever you are comfortable with. Know your own local chilis and put it in as fresh, dried or as a paste – whatever suits you.
- By using the micro grater, you don’t even notice there is garlic in it – not everyone like little garlic pieces and no matter how finely you chop there always seems to be some lumps !So I use the microplane (see details on the link in the equipment section ). Paul however likes to use a little oil ( a few teaspoons max. to cook chopped garlic till it’s toasty before adding the tomatoes.
- If you’re adding herbs. Remember the earthy ones goes in first. Add your lighter herbs ( if at all) near the end – fresh oregano first, basil right at the end, mint… last, and on top. If dried, add them a little earlier.
- If you find your egg yolks are cooked nicely but the whites can be a little ‘transparent’ and uncooked. Just spoon some tomato sauce over the uncooked whites to cook them through before serving.
- Adding parmesan is optional, but without it, in this low cal recipe it can feel a little thin. Traditionally shakshuka tends to have feta on top in the East, or even mozzarella now toward the mediterranean. We like just a little parmesan added toward the end in this recipe to give a nice umami depth to the dish.
Fast and easy method
5 steps… takes about 10 minutes to cook.
2. Tip in your tinned tomatoes and some small cherry style tomatoes and chili ( and optionally any woody herbs) and let bubble and reduce.
3. Once the tomatoes are cooked down to a nice consistency, add in the parmesan, and optionally any lighter herbs.
4. Make a few holes in it for cooking your eggs.
5. Drop the eggs into the holes and let them poach in the tomato liquid.
I swear by keeping the lid on and no peeping so that the egg cooks all over… Paul doesn’t ?, so try it for yourself and see which kind of egg pleases you most !
Serve and enjoy.
In Morocco, we were told there that the name Shakshuka, is derived from the Berber word for ‘mixture’. ( The Berber’s are the indigenous nation of Morocco, and Amazigh is their local language. Makes sense !
Paul likes to mix his parmesan into the tomatoes. I prefer to mix mine into the egg white only, or leave it and just grate it onto the dish fresh, before serving.
You could use a medium onion instead of a few garlic cloves.
Some red pepper cooked down, will add a little sweetness. If you then leave the eggs our, this is how we knew the dish as one of the many Moroccan salads we would get in Marrakesh to either start a meal or as a side salad. That dish has a similar name “Taktouka” – similar but different !
Hot Paprika, cayenne can be substituted for the chili flakes.
If going Moroccan style, cook in a 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin at the beginning, and a handful of coriander / parsley fresh herb mix toward the end.
If going mediterranean, add chili at the beginning and oregano / basil fresh herb mix at the end.
If you want to go Spanish mediterranean, and don’t mind another 20-30 calories, add some Iberian or Serrano ham to cook at the beginning. I like to add some smoked paprika if I’m adding a Spanish ham.
For the Greek version, add sliced black olives and feta.
For more Middle Eastern, perhaps top with feta and zaatar.
Inspirations for this dish
We first came across this as an ‘Eggs in Purgatory; recipe by Nigella, many many years ago. We would add oregano and basil from the garden in the UK, and use up eggs from the chooks, and maybe a dash of home-made chili oil at the end.
When we hit Morocco to build the hotel, we fell in love with the Kefta tagine as a quick comfort dish. We realised that was just cumin style meatballs in a stewed tomato dish… with an egg on top… pretty similar, eh. So it’s no surprise I suppose, that we quickly found shakshuka as a side or for lunch, with a hunk of great bread for dipping, and the kefta for dinner as our favourite easy comfort food when we were in Morocco. We found out later that it means ‘mixed up’ and who doesn’t like a delicious mixed up combination of your favourite ingredients to set you up for the day.
Paul’s favourite go to pasta dish was always pasta arrabbiatta ( aha , now we see the ‘Arab’ in the Arrabbiata ) which is essentially a spicy tomato sauce. So it’s a real middle eastern meets mediterranean dish and it’s so easy. It’s also our go to filling lunch on a low calorie diet day, so we know it well. Let us show you how to make it.