Tuesday, 25 November 2014

SHAKSHUKA - FROM A TUNISIAN FARE TO A HEARTY HAPPY BRUNCH ON A WORLD PLATTER 

" Shakshuka you know you wanna make this as much as you wanna say this." - Mellisa Clark


SHAKSHUKA is a one skillet dish which has a very interesting origin and an even more interesting story of its journey from its origin to becoming a heart warming dish worldwide. It is basically an egg dish beautifully cooked on a juicy bed of tomatoes with happy coloured bell peppers and some fragrant spices and fresh herbs. Although this dish originated in Tunisia it forms fond memories of many many Middle Eastern children who grew up gorging on this really colourful dish. 


In fact the recipe which I have replicated here is of a very famous Chef who himself grew up on Shakshuka and has wonderful Childhood memories of the dish. In the words of Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, owner of the unique NOPI restaurant in London, known for its menu which celebrates bold flavours and award winning interiors, " Shakshuka is a typical dish for Israel, which one can see in all the street corners. Although this dish has its origins in Tunisia, the Jews from there brought it to Israel along with them. Normally people sit around tables in the old city of Jaffa, Israel where you can see people tucking into Shashuka with Pita bread. It is a very colourful scene. The food is red and vibrant and people are normally happy when they eat it. " Wonderful trivia coming from the master.

In another piece of interesting Trivia published in the Jewish Chronicle, " Shakshuka - Israel's hottest breakfast dish," the author Bernard Joseph goes on to say that Israeli's love to debate about what constitutes an authentic " Shakshuka ". Although there are many sides to the Shakshuka debate it either culminates in agreement that the most authentic Shakshuka is dished out by moms and grandmoms or by noshing up the dish in the restaurants amid the bustling flea market in Jaffa where the cooks are believed to rustle up the most authentic and best Shakshuka. 

Although there are as many variations to the dish as is its much argued country of origin "Shakshuka" which means "all mixed up" in Hebrew is a radiantly healthy, wonderfully colourful dish, which is loved and eaten in many places around the globe with the same fervour with which it is eaten in Israel. In my home whenever we want to tuck into a dish with our fingers and pita bread, Shakshuka is the dish of choice. The young and the grown up young are equally drawn to this immensely colourful dish and happily eat all the variations that I come up with, offcourse inspired by the prevelant Shashuka variations in different countries.




The Recipe I have put down here is Chef Yotam Ottolenghi's creation which he with so much love and fond memories created and I really hope I have done justice to the dish. But let Me add, here that it was lapped up no sooner placed on the dinning table, so not bad I guess. Below is the recipe of Personal Pan Shakshuka. I like to serve Shakshuka in the skillet or pan that it has been cooked. However if you would like to eat like the Israelis do from a family pan then I crease the amount of the Ingredients accordingly. 

SHAKSHUKA PERSONAL PAN  RECIPE:

Serves : 1 
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking time : 10 - 15 mins

Ingredients : 

1) Eggs : 2
2)  Onion : 1/2 of a medium sized onion finely sliced
3) Garlic : 1 tsp finely chopped
4)  Red Pepper : 1/2 of a medium sized pepper cut into roughly 1 cm thick slices
5) Yellow Pepper : 1/2 of a medium sized Pepper cut roughly into 1 cm thick slices
6) Tomatoes : 2 large roughly chopped
7) Cumin powder : 1 tsp
8) Sweet Paprika : 1 tbsp
9) Black Pepper : 1/2 tsp coarsely ground 
10) Sugar : 1/4 th teaspoon
11)  Coriander leaves : 1 tbsp finely chopped 
12) Parsley leaves : 1 tbsp finely chopped
13) Bay Leaf - 1 small
14) Olive Oil : 1&1/2 tbsp
15) Salt to taste 

STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE : 

First and foremost, Assemble All The Ingredients Together.


Step 1: Put Olive Oil in  the skillet, add Onions and Garlic. Let them sweat and wait till the Onions turn nice,  Pink and sweet. 


Step 2 : Add both the red and the yellow Peppers. Toss them around for a few seconds.


Step 3: Add the herbs parsley and coriander, leaving some for the garnish. Also add the bay leaf. Give everything in the pan a nice mix.


Step 4: Time for the main ingredient to form the base of the Shakshuka, the tomatoes to go in. Since this is a rustic dish the tomatoes are roughly chopped. But I pulse it at least a couple of times in the food processor so that it cooks easily in less time.


Step 5: Add ground cumin, sweet paprika,salt, pepper ( leave some to season the eggs later), sugar. Cover the pan and cook on medium flame till the tomatoes are cooked completely. Take care that the tomato base is not watery and check to see that it's consistency is Similar to a pizza base sauce. The aroma wafting through my kitchen at this point of time is as wonderful as the lovely flavours of this dish. I really wish that I could teleport this aroma to all my readers. 


Step 6: At this point it is important to taste for seasoning and add sugar, salt or pepper just as  required. This is not only a necessary part but an eagerly awaited part by me as I get for the first time to taste the wonderous bed of juicy goodness. And with this we arrive at the most important part of making this dish, the breaking open of the eggs one by one delicately so as to keep the yolk intact. But before doing this make two dents in the tomato, pepper, garlic, herbs n spices bed with a spoon, so that the eggs can easily fit in and get poached there. Once you have placed the eggs in their rightful place, sprinkle salt and pepper. Next cover the pan and cook the eggs till completely done. Don't move the pan once the eggs are in, just let the eggs cook on medium flame.


And there you go with your health & taste embedded delicious Shakshuka. Serve with Pita or any kind of bread. 

Ingredients : 

1) Eggs : 2
2)  Onion : 1/2 of a medium sized onion finely sliced
3) Garlic : 1 tsp finely chopped
4)  Red Pepper : 1/2 of a medium sized pepper cut into roughly 1 cm thick slices
5) Yellow Pepper : 1/2 of a medium sized Pepper cut roughly into 1 cm thick slices
6) Tomatoes : 2 large roughly chopped
7) Cumin powder : 1 tsp
8) Sweet Paprika : 1 tbsp
9) Black Pepper : 1/2 tsp coarsely ground 
10) Sugar : 1/4 th teaspoon
11)  Coriander leaves : 1 tbsp finely chopped 
12) Parsley leaves : 1 tbsp finely chopped
13) Bay Leaf - 1 small
14) Olive Oil : 1&1/2 tbsp
15) Salt to taste 

STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE : 

First and foremost, Assemble All The Ingredients Together.

Step 1:  Put Olive Oil in  the skillet, add Onions and Garlic. Let them sweat and wait till the Onions turn nice,  Pink and sweet. 

Step 2 : Add both the red and the yellow Peppers. Toss them around for a few seconds.

Step 3: Add the herbs parsley and coriander, leaving some for the garnish. Also add the bay leaf. Give everything in the pan a nice mix.

Step 4: Time for the main ingredient to form the base of the Shakshuka, the tomatoes to go in. Since this is a rustic dish the tomatoes are roughly chopped. But I pulse it at least a couple of times in the food processor so that it cooks easily in less time.

Step 5: Add ground cumin, sweet paprika,salt, pepper ( leave some to season the eggs later), sugar. Cover the pan and cook on medium flame till the tomatoes are cooked completely. Take care that the tomato base is not watery and check to see that it's consistency is Similar to a pizza base sauce. The aroma wafting through my kitchen at this point of time is as wonderful as the lovely flavours of this dish. I really wish that I could teleport this aroma to all my readers. 

Step 6:  At this point it is important to taste for seasoning and add sugar, salt or pepper just as  required. This is not only a necessary part but an eagerly awaited part by me as I get for the first time to taste the wonderous bed of juicy goodness. And with this we arrive at the most important part of making this dish, the breaking open of the eggs one by one delicately so as to keep the yolk intact. But before doing this make two dents in the tomato, pepper, garlic, herbs n spices bed with a spoon, so that the eggs can easily fit in and get poached there. Once you have placed the eggs in their rightful place, sprinkle salt and pepper. Next cover the pan and cook the eggs till completely done. Don't move the pan once the eggs are in, just let the eggs cook on medium flame.

And there you go with your health and taste embedded  delicious Shakshuka. Serve with Pita or any kind of bread. 


Note : 
*You can add vegetables as per your liking to this dish.
*Even sausages can be added.
*Adding Feta cheese or any other cheese is also a good idea.
*I the original recipe Chef Ottolenghi added Cumin to the pan before adding oil. He allowed the cumin to become fragrant and then added the oil. I skipped this step. You can follow him completely.
*Chef Ottolenghi also added Saffron and thyme to the Shakshuka. I didn't. The choice is yours.


CHECK LIST : 

1) Eggs,  2)  Onion, 3) Garlic,  4)  Red Pepper, 5) Yellow Pepper,  6) Tomatoes ,  7) Cumin powder, 8) Sweet Paprika,  9) Black Pepper,10) Sugar, 11)  Coriander leaves,12) Parsley leaves, 13) Bay Leaf, 14) Olive Oil,15) Salt 


Dear Friends this is a one pan complete meal which will satiate your gut and your craving for spicy food. Without a care Dip your bread into the juices and forget everything and indulge your senses into the awesome taste of the Shakshuka. Do surely try this recipe and let me know what variations you incorporated

No comments:

Post a comment