It’s no secret that Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine has taken over the North American food scene. With late-night shawarma shops and road-side falafel stands popping up everywhere, it’s obvious why.
That sh!t’s delicious!
You know what else? It can also be quite good for you (the Middle East didn’t become one of the world’s oldest civilizations by eating crap!)
Amidst the array of hummus and spit-roasted meats, however, another dish has made its way across the oceans and into the stomachs of curious breakfast crusaders looking for something different to get them up in the morning. Something with more flavour than an eggs benny, for a fraction of the cost. Enter: Shakshuka.
Though the exact origins and who first made shakshuka is debated among the various groups throughout the Middle East, it is most often attributed to the Ottoman Empire and associated with the Tunisian Jews.
Tomatoes and Garlic and Eggs… Oh My!
The dish is simple enough: the backbone is cooked tomatoes, and usually consists of sweet peppers, onions, lots of garlic, and a variety of spices. Shakshuka always contains eggs, however depending on where you are from the way they are cooked will be different.
In Israel the dish is somewhat chunky, with the eggs poached in the sauce and served with feta on top. In Egypt, however, it is more of an egg scramble, and is served as a drippy sandwich hungry travelers and busy workers can grab at a road-side stand. Either way, there is always plenty of garlic and spice, and it is always served with bread to mop of the entrails, be it in a (messy) hand-held sandwich version or in a cast iron skillet and shared with family and friends.
While sometimes you may have shakshuka with a spicy sausage or other meat, the star of the show is eggs. In fact, in Israel and the Middle East, you will hard-pressed to find a dish that doesn’t have eggs in it! Eggs are cheaper than meat, and they are an excellent source of protein and nutrition, making them accessible to all people.
A Special Dish
Of course, while Shakshuka is an extremely popular and famous breakfast dish from Israel, it’s not necessarily something that is eaten every day. A typical daily breakfast in the Middle East is bread and honey, or some sort of fig-based jam. They have a daily grind just as we do in North America, and ain’t nobody got time to simmer sauce for 30 minutes each morning!
That being said, if you haven’t yet tried Shakshuka, check out our recipe and our video on making shakshuka and try it for your next brunch party (because we know that’s a thing that you do!). It’s packed with nutritious ingredients that won’t sit like a rock in your stomach, it’s easy to make, and fun to share with friends!