Looking for something new to cook? Why not kick-start your day with some shakshouka, the smoky breakfast dish that has become a staple food in Israel, but is also popular throughout the Middle East and northern Africa.

A top-down view of shakshouka in a large black pan. The dish consists of eggs and spices in a rich, thick tomato sauce.
The origin country of shakshouka is debated, but it has become a staple dish in Israel © Sarka Babicka / Getty Images

What is it?

Gorgeously rich and smoky, this breakfast of eggs, red pepper and tomato sauce gives you a warm glow in your  belly and a superfood soul that will last the rest of the day.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1½ tbs olive oil 
1 small onion, peeled and sliced 
1 large red (bell) pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced 
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced 
½ tsp ground cumin 
½ tsp paprika 
cayenne pepper, to taste 
400g (14oz) canned whole plum tomatoes with juice, roughly chopped 
salt and ground black pepper, to taste 
4 eggs 
coriander (cilantro), chopped to garnish 
fresh bread, to serve 

A close-up view of shakshouka in a large black pan. The yellow egg yolks stand out against the red sauce of the dish.
There's no better way to start a day than a steaming bowl of shakshouka © istetiana / Shutterstock

How to cook

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
Step 2: Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat.
Step 3: Add the onion and bell pepper.
Step 4: Reduce the heat to low and cook the onion and pepper, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until soft.
Step 5: Add the garlic and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, until softened.
Step 6: Stir in the cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Step 7: Pour the tomatoes into the frying pan.
Step 8: Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Step 9: Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Step 10: Using the back of a spoon, create four hollows in the sauce for the eggs to sit in.
Step 11: Gently crack the eggs into the frying pan over the tomatoes.
Step 12: Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Step 13: Transfer the frying pan to the oven.
Step 14: Bake for 7–10 minutes, until the eggs  are set.
Step 15: Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately, with fresh bread if you like.

Tables full of people are enjoying food in a Tel Aviv restaurant
A bowl of shakshouka will immediately transport you to the streets of Tel Aviv © eFesenko / Shutterstock

Tasting notes

The frying pan arrives at the table, still sizzling from the oven, and almost always with a word of warning from the waiter – ‘Careful, it’s hot’. A perfect shakshouka’s egg yolks are still soft and bright yellow, just ready to be split and spilled into the rest of the ingredients. It’s the deep flavours of the tomato sauce that are really the making of this dish, that warm smell of paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin spurring you on to soak up every last smear. Normally one order of shakshouka is considered big enough for two to share, but done right it’s so moreish one person could easily demolish the lot.

Other recipes in this series:
Polish pierogi
Vietnamese pho
German currywurst

Have you recreated any of the dishes featured in this series so far? Share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @lonelyplanet. For more great recipes, check out Lonely Planet’s book The World’s Best Superfoods.

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