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Despite many establishment menus in Wellington claiming that this dish comes from Turkey, it was actually introduced to Israel from Tunisian Jews. I was introduced to this dish by my cousins, while on a big extended family holiday and given the task to cook breakfast for 20 people. Out came an army of frying pans and we were away!
(Serves 2–4, depends how hungry you are!)
- 2 Tbsp [olive] oil
- 2 Tbsp harissa paste
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 red capsicums, cut into 2cm strips
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¾ tsp salt
- 5 large, ripe tomatoes (800g), chopped
- 4 eggs
- 120g Labneh or thick yoghurt (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add harissa paste, tomato paste, capsicum, garlic, cumin, and salt.
Stir and cook on a moderate heat for about eight minutes to allow capsicums to soften. Add tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for a further ten minutes or until you have a thick sauce.
Make four wells in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and pour into each dip. Use a fork to mix the whites a bit with the sauce.
Simmer gently for eight to ten minutes or until the egg whites are set but yolks are runny. Season and remove from the heat and allow to settle for a few minutes before serving with Labneh/yoghurt or bread and salad.
Tips and tricks:
Harissa paste is common in many North African and Middle Eastern dishes and uses chili, garlic, cumin, caraway, and other ingredients. You can use any hot sauce, red chili paste, or a dash of chili flakes!
If you want to make this a more filling meal you can add some cubed potatoes, sliced courgettes and carrots, and either keep or omit the eggs. Removing the eggs makes the dish closer to its cousin, Şakşuka, from Turkey.
Make this dish cheaper by using tinned tomatoes rather than fresh.
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi