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Shai's Shakshuka


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Consider making this if you have some late tomatoes that need to be used, or live in a part of the world where it's summer.
If you don't have ripe fresh tomatoes, canned ones work very well.


In Israel, shakshuka is most popular as branch or breakfast, but it can also make a lovely dinner.


This serves four.

The sauce can be made ahead, portioned and kept refrigerated for a few days, or frozen.



Base souce:

  • a little oil (1/2 tablespoon)
  • 700-750g ripe red bell peppers (3 large), cut to roughly 1cm (1/2") 
  • 650g of very ripe tomatoes (5 large), optionally peeled and roughly chopped (about 3cm, 1")
  • 1-2 hot green chilies of your variety of choice (preferably vegetal and not bitter), thinly sliced into rings
  • 3.5 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • about 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • A few tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • A couple of tablespoons of chopped cilantro (optional)

Spice paste:

  • about 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • 8-9 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons of ground cumin (freshly ground if possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground or whole caraway (optional)
  • 2-2.5 tablespoons of Moroccan sweet paprika (more earthy and less sweet/herbal then hungarian. I think spanish style will be good as well)
    • If you like extra hot, or if you don't use fresh chili, then sub hot paprika for some of the sweet paprika


Tahini sauce (makes more then needed):

  • 1/2 cup good tahini (seek one which is pale, nutty and naturally sweet)
  • 1/2 cup very cold water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (+ more to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic (optional)

      -- Mix all of those, add more water if it is very thick. Can be kept up to 4 days.


To finish:

  • about 8 eggs (assuming 2 per serving)
  • more salt and pepper, to season the eggs
  • some more parsley
  • about 2 tablespoons of the tahini sauce


To serve along:

  • A crusty bread with a soft crumb, unsliced (I usually opt for challah or french style bread) - make sure to slightly heat it in the oven so that it gets crisp and warm
  • More of the tahini sauce
  • Extra hot sauce - Filfel chuma is the best if you can buy, or make it (very easy to do so)
  • Olives (or pickles)




  • Prepare the spice paste:
  • in a small pan, heat oil, garlic, cumin, caraway - until aromatic and lightly sizzling, about 3 minutes.
  • Add paprika and stir. Cook a minute or so and remove from heat.


  • Prepare the sauce:
  • In a shallow wide pot, or a deep pan, saute the bell peppers with a little oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add a generous tablespoon of the spice paste and stir with the peppers.
  • Cook until the peppers soften, roughly 10 minutes, being careful not to burn the spices.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for another 30 minutes or so, until thickened slightly (it will get thicker with the eggs).
  • Add remaining spice paste.
  • Add salt, pepper and herbs. 
  • At this point, the sauce can be portioned and refrigerated.


  • If portioned, transfer the sauce to a pan of suitable (smaler) size.
  • Lower the heat.
  • If cooking 4 eggs or more, break them ahead of time onto a plate.
  • Using a spoon, create a shallow indentation in the sauce for each egg (this will keep them from sliding).
  • Place an egg in each indentation. Gently stir the egg whites with the sauce around them, only a little - do not break the yolks.
  • Season the top of the eggs with some salt and pepper.
  • Cover with a lid and cook on a bare simmer, until the eggs are just barely cooked (like poached eggs) - consider that they will cook some further from the residual heat of the sauce.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, drizzle with tahini.


  • Shakshuka is served in the pan it was cooked in! If you eat alone (or comfortable with your companion), eat directly from the pan. Otherwise, gently transfer to a plate.
  • The bread is best left unsliced, rather teared and dipped into the sauce and eggs (The Hebrew language has a term for tearing of bread - לבצוע Livtzo'a).
  • Add more tahini and hot sauce as pleases you.




Edited by shain (log)
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~ Shai N.

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Shakshuka is one of my favourite breakfast dishes during gardening season when I can go out and pick the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and herbs.

During off season I'll make it with frozen whole tomatoes, hot peppers, roasted red peppers and herbs. Everything gets chopped frozen and is pretty indistinguishable from that made from fresh.

I have two comments/questions on your recipe.

The first is the addition of the tahini sauce which is new to me and sounds intriguing. Is this typical in Israel (just it's the first time I've run across it)?

The second is the inclusion of caraway seed. Again it's a version I've never run across and is it an Ashkenazim influence?

I realize it's a dish that can have as many variations as cooks.




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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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@Wayne I also sometimes freeze whole tomatoes, but I never freeze peppers since they are good here almost year round (the only time they aren't good is in the peak of summer since the excess heat makes then bitter). 


Tahini is a very common addition to shakshuka in Israel. Merguez sausage are also common. Eggplants and feta are less common. 

To me however, tahini is a must. 


Caraway is a Tripolitan (or Libyan in general) addition. It is not very common Israel and should not be overly strong in the final dish. I include it about half of the times.


I will also note that shakshuka can be made with a long range of cooking durations, leaving the tomatoes anywhere from barley cooked, firm and a little acidic, to slow cooking, bringing deep and rich flavors. 

Edited by shain (log)
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~ Shai N.

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I'm going to try adding the tahini sauce the next time I make this.

I have added a sprinkling of feta and some slice olives when adding the eggs.

One other variation I like during gardening season is to add thinly sliced zucchini flowers when adding the eggs.


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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Dunno about caraway, we use it for sweet stuff. 

Dunno about Tahina with Shakshuka but is it not an overload of flavours?

Dunno about making a spice paste when you can do the whole spicing in the same pan.

and where are the onions, tons of onions.


This is my Shakshuka with three eggs for a single serving for myself and I  :B








Edited by Nicolai (log)
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Gotta love that we are all different.   Bet both yours and @shain's are equally tasty.  Would love to try both of them.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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On 12/8/2016 at 11:04 PM, Nicolai said:

Dunno about caraway, we use it for sweet stuff. 

Dunno about Tahina with Shakshuka but is it not an overload of flavours?

Dunno about making a spice paste when you can do the whole spicing in the same pan.

and where are the onions, tons of onions.


Haha, yes it's nice to see how dishes change from region to region and house to house. 

In Turkey they serve a shakshuka-like dish with the eggs scrambled in the sauce. And under Turkish influence, the Hungarian created their lecsó, my grandparents are of Hungarian descent, and so I learned to like this dish from youth. I never connected the dots between this dish shakshuka until I was much older.
The version of lecso I make (not nearly often enough) has more peppers and paprika, as well as plenty of browned onions :) 
I don't remember if they used to add caraway, but I add it to this dish as well - no cumin though.

My short cooked shakshuka is even more like an hot salsa with barely cooked tomatoes and strong garlic flavor and also sumac.


I encourage you to try the tahini, I don't find it to be too much at all, rather its fattiness smoothes the sauce spices, and the nutty flavor is also nice.

The spice paste is made separately because I find the long cooking in the sauce mutes some of its flavors - mostly of the garlic and the cumin. It's definitely not a must-do.


And about the caraway, I don't think I ever had it in dessert before, I can imagine it working in some crisp cookies, where I will usually put anise seeds. Do you have a favorite sweet that uses it?

Edited by shain (log)

~ Shai N.

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Shakshuka has indeed many variants and the addition of a particular spice, herb or ingredient adapts the flavour to the taste of the country.


The Tahineh recipe you are mentioning is our go-to recipe to dress fish (fried - grilled - bbq - hot - cold)  As such, our taste buds are Pavlov associated with Tahineh and fish. I guess you have such Pavlov reaction to other spices or ingredients as well. We call this recipe Tarator.

The short of it is that I am very reluctant to change the taste structure of Shakshuka.


As for Caraway which we call Karawya, It is mainly a spice used for sweets in the Levant originally and all over the area as of late.

Using Caraway in casseroles is not common in our area and is more of an Eastern Europe kind of food.


The main sweet with Karawya is called Meghli while it is called Karawya in Jordan and Palestine.

It is a pudding type of sweet laden with nuts and delectable. Meghli is associated with a new birth. Each family getting a baby will prepare Meghli for all well-wishers and distribute to family and friends.


A lesser known sweet is an Aleppo type of sweet which is sinking to oblivion. It combines several spices and has a olfactory hallucinating effect when fresh from the oven. It is simply irresistible. The recipe cannot be found on the net or in books. Yupps, it is one of those to remain nameless :B

Edited by Nicolai (log)
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1 hour ago, Nicolai said:

Meghli is associated with a new birth. Each family getting a baby will prepare Meghli for all well-wishers and distribute to family and friends.


A lesser known sweet is an Aleppo type of sweet which is sinking to oblivion. It combines several spices and has a olfactory hallucinating effect when fresh from the oven. It is simply irresistible. The recipe cannot be found on the net or in books. Yupps, it is one of those to remain nameless :B


Please @Nicolai,


Don't let such an alluringly described recipe as your Aleppo sweet sink to the depths of obscurity! Don't tease us. If you know how to make something that is rare and "has a olfactory hallucinating effect when fresh from the oven. It is simply irresistible." Please share in your own Recipe Gullet post. It's your duty as an eG member to be a steward of food culture, right? :D


I like caraway seeds, but almost exclusively keep them on hand for a savory casserole of corned beef, cabbage, celery, onion, milk, butter, Swiss cheese and egg noodles. (Probably Eastern European?) It would be great to have another use for them, especially one like you described.

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> ^ . . ^ <



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