Dinner

Shakshuka – A tantalizing trip to spicy Israel on a Sunday night

 

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I had spent all afternoon browsing the internet to come up with something different to use up all the leftover summer fruit and vegies. I was a little tired of the usual tomato passata, slow roasted tomato’s and tomato soups. I still managed to make another batch of basil and tomato sauce, which I’ve popped in the pantry for another day, but I wanted spice, I wanted exotic and unusual. I’d seen this Shakshuka egg dish on a few blogs lately, but had no idea what it was called, so of course I had to spend the afternoon trawling through all my favourite blogs to find exactly what I was looking for. I found it at SmittenKitchen. And of course, I had some ingredients, but didn’t have others. So, I went with it and created something of my own.

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I’ve never been overseas, I live vicariously through other’s on the internet. I haven’t had Israeli food before so I can’t compare this dish to the original or even to one that I’ve tried in an Israeli restaurant. I was hedging my bets that I could make it taste as to how I’d read it. I have to say, this is fantastic. I took the sauce down to mum and dad’s and cooked the rest of the dish there, toasted some sourdough baguettes to go with and savored it with a glass of Sav Blanc. We all agreed it’d go better with a Riesling. I need more tomatoes now, as I just have to make some more of this to jar it and keep it tucked away in the pantry for the bleak rainy days ahead. It was a really quick, satisfying Sunday night dinner. It was spicy, eggy sunshine in a bowl. I also managed to cook the eggs to perfection, and that’s no mean feat for me. Eggs are not my thing.

Ingredients – Approximate, with the vegies as I forgot to weigh any of it

  • 3 or 4 banana chilies de-seeded – added a slight kick but add more chili if you want more of a punch, it’s supposed to have some heat
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 or 3 little purple capsicum
  • a head of garlic – seems like a lot but it wasn’t a huge head, but I do like garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 1.5kg tomatoes
  • 2tb tomato paste
  • 2 heaped tsp smoked paprika – use sweet if it’s all you have,
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4c balsamic vinegar – a recipe called for red wine vinegar but I pulled the wrong bottle out and poured without looking, whoops
  • 2tb brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of fish sauce

Whiz up the first 5 ingredients in your food processor. Add some oil to a pot and fry for about 10 mins to soften all the vegies.

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Add the tomato paste and the spices and fry til the tomato paste is cooked out and the spices are fragrant.

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In the meantime, pulse the tomatoes in the processor, so they still have a bit of texture and some chunky bits. Add to the pot, adding about a cup of water to bring the liquid up. Stir for a bit, put the lid on and let all the flavours come together, simmering for about 20 mins. Check the seasoning and add the dash of fish sauce. That might sound like jumping the taste borders without a passport, but fish sauce adds a real depth to tomato dishes. You only need a couple of splashes, but try it, you might find it makes a real difference. Then again, you might not. Righto, sauce done.

Add the sauce to a skillet or fry pan, a couple of ladlefuls per egg I guess, and heat. Wait for it to come to a simmer then crack your eggs into it.

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Pop a lid over the top, you want the eggs to get some heat from the top as well as the bottom of the pan. Cook some thick slices of toast, or cut up a fresh loaf of bread. This is the perfect dish for dipping and dunking. When the eggs are done to your liking, sprinkle with parsley. If eating for one, serve as is, bread on the side. If sharing, dish it up and dig in. I wish I’d had some fetta as that would’ve made it extra special, but it was so good just with some bread and a glass of white.

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I now know why Shakshuka is a widely blogged about dish.

 

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