Shakshuka – Brunch Time!

Sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. with no weekly post for a while. I started a new job assignment and was pretty busy with that, …and a quick vacation in Kauai to get some quality relaxation in before my work & life falls back into hectic-ness. Also just generally always busy trying to seize life by the throat and shake it all around..

Without further ado, here’s a new installment:

Factor 1: Ah, how memories blur with time. A few years ago I got the privilege of exploring a little bit of Turkey, mostly Istanbul. As an ancient history fan, it was super exciting to explore this city with so much East-Meets-West history, with layers and layers of stories all piled on top of itself, not to mention multiple legacies of countless Roman leaders! That, and trying the food was such an adventure. I still dream of the egg and tomato dish I ate on an Airbnb host’s recommendation near Galata Tower in Istanbul. Fast forward to now, when I finally get around to trying my hand at the recipe below: tomato, egg, peppers, sounds delicious, right? Sounds the same!

Factor 2: When I was a kid and my mama went out of town I’d look forward to my Baba making his signature dish, egg and tomato fry. Yum! Apparently, it is a popular combination with me..

Voila: Sunday brunch dish trial, thinking I was making this:

Shakshuka

Shakshuka, plated!
Shakshuka, plated!

Based on Nourish Atelier
serves 2

Ingredients:
In the pan
olive oil or coconut oil
1-2 red or yellow onion, or a couple of shallots, or a mix
2 garlic cloves, crushed and mixed with a teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 handful of fresh herbs like coriander, mint, parsley and basil, chopped (I used parsley and basil)
400 g (a regular tin) plum tomatoes
1 tbsp honey
water
4 free range eggs

optional in the pan:
1 tbsp Harissa or 1 tsp chili paste (skipped harissa)

to serve:
bread, sliced
butter to spread
1 handful fresh herbs, chopped
garlic yogurt sauce
one small handful of fresh herbs, preferably coriander and mint (more basil and parsley, because that’s what I had on hand).
one handful of feta or goat cheese crumble I did almond nut cheese.
a sprinkle zaatar spice mix (optional – I skipped zaatar, not a big fan)

garlic yogurt sauce:
2 dl yogurt (about 0.42 cups)
1 tbsp runny honey
I clove garlic, crushed in a little bit of salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients amassing.
Ingredients amassing.

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to toast bread 300F
2. Chop the onion in small even pieces. Oil your pan. Fry the onion on medium heat for 5 minutes while stirring.
3. Add the bell pepper strips, ground cumin, ground coriander and the halved cherry tomatoes (if opted for that). for another 10 minutes, on low heat, keep stirring.
4. Meanwhile: butter bread, and toast in oven until bread reaches desired golden color.

Bread spread out to toast, with some parsley and basil on top for fun.
Bread spread out to toast, with some parsley and basil on top for fun.

5. Add plum tomatoes, garlic salt, honey, coriander, paprika powder, fresh herbs, and harissa if you opted for that, let it all simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
6. Stir occasionally and add a little water if it starts to burn and dry out.
7. Prepare the yogurt sauce by mixing the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

garlic yogurt, delicious!
garlic yogurt, delicious!

8. Return to the Shakshuka – add a 1-2 tbsp water or more if needed.
9. With a spoon, make four little shallow deepenings in the surface, and crack an egg in each. Leave the whole loveliness for 10 minutes on low heat. The result should be a dried out sauce with eggs done. Remove from heat.
10. Serve with sprinkled fresh herbs, and drizzled garlic sauce. Scoop up the shakshuka with bread. Enjoy!

Shakshuka, finished!
Shakshuka, finished!

Here are all the steps, in hyper-gifified version:

onions in pan, frying..
go, go go!

..the story continues..

So, was it close?
Here’s a picture k dug up from one of likely 4 identical breakfasts:
Nope.

Menemen in Istanbul, circa 2014
Menemen in Istanbul, circa 2014

Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 The taste of novelty is rich indeed!
Likelihood of Repeat: 70% Very impressive for a brunch meal, if you can chop the ingredients faster or in advance.
Lesson learned: Apparently, this is actually a different rendition of the same combination of food. Then I finally looked up the dish (see: asked my less absent-minded roommate), and it turns out it’s called menemen. Guess I’ll have to try that again another day..

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