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How I make my Shakshuka

Shakshuka is one of our favorite dishes. There are many ways to make it, this is how I do it.

When I make it, it is just for the two of us, so if you are with more, you'll have to use more ingredients.

I am not a huge fan of garlic, and use only onions and tomatoes for the Shakshuka.

Cast iron skillet

I use my 8 inch cast iron skillet for making Shakshuka.

Some cast iron fans would be anxious to do so, because the tomatoes should be bad for the seasoning of the iron, but I never had any trouble with it.

The secret of cooking with cast iron is that you keep the heat low and give it enough time to pre-heat. Only pour in oil when the skillet is hot and just before you add the first ingredients.

We cook on an electrical induction stove. I put the heat on number 4 (on the scale of 1 to 9) and than start peeling and chopping the onion. When the onion is all in small pieces, the skillet is usually already hot enough.

Bread

Bread is the essential accompaniment for mopping up sauce and yoke. The best for this would be a French baguette, but unfortunately, no Dutch bakery knows how to make these.

We settle for pre-cooked baguette-like things from the supermarket, that we finish in the oven, while the onions are simmering.

Oil

For cooking, I just use standard sunflower oil, which is a lot cheaper compared to olive oil.

The unsaturated fatty acids will break down at higher temperatures anyway, so there really is no need to cook in olive oil.

I add some olive oil to the Shakshuka, but this is only for the taste. I do this right before the eggs go in it.

Onion

I start with the onion. Use one big onion or two smaller ones. Chop into little pieces. Pour some oil in the already hot skillet and cook the chopped onion until it becomes soft and start to turn golden.

Ginger

Shakshuka should be spicy and rich of flavors, and this starts with the ginger. Take a piece of fresh ginger and cut it up in very small splinters, and stir through the onion.

Tomatoes

Depending on the size, I use three to four tomatoes. Chop into small pieces and stir through the onion and ginger.

Tomato puree

I add a very small tin of tomato puree. Also I add a halve cup of water.

Lemon juice and white balsamic vinegar

Add a rich squeeze of lemon juice and some white balsamic vinegar. And to get that yummy sweet and sour taste, add some artificial sweetener (we must avoid sugar).

I also like to add one or two table spoons of Greek yogurt.

Seasoning

Now it is time to add some seasoning. Chilly or cayenne pepper, cumin (both crushed cumin as well as whole cumin seeds) are a must, but I also like to add some white pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, basil, and some coriander.

Stir every thing good.

Simmer

Let the food simmer for 20 minutes or so. This will vaporize the water and soften the tomatoes. Now is good time to open a bottle of your favorite wine and pour your first glass. Let it simmer while you enjoy your wine.

Taste the sauce and if needed, add some chilly or cayenne pepper if you like it a bit spicier.

Don't worry about your Shakshuka being too wet. Most of the time it looks too wet when you add the eggs, but when served it is just fine. Also, you want it wet enough so you can mop your bread. This is part of the Shakshuka feast!

Eggs

Pour a table spoon of olive oil over the sauce and give it a last stir.

Officially you should make some divots for the eggs, but my onion-tomato sauce is soft enough so I don't bother.

Break four eggs. Be careful to not break the yokes and put these on the onion-tomato blend. Top off with thin slices of soft goat cheese.

Now cover the skillet with a lid and let simmer for another 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs.

The eggs should be just set.

Slice the bread

The slices should not be too thick, go for about 8 mm.

Serve

The Shakshuka must be served in the skillet, so you can mop up the wet parts with the bread.

Extras

Shakshuka has originally been created to accommodate every thing that has been left over, so you can be creative here.

Sometimes I put a chopped up courgette (egg plant) in it. Chop the courgette into small dices and cook until soft, before adding the tomatoes.

Another option is to stir some pre-cooked broccoli through to tomatoes.

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