I say Shakshuka you say Eggs in Purgatory

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Often I have those nights when the Dr is working and I’m on my own and I cannot even contemplate making a proper dinner but I gotta eat because I’m hungry.  This is where breakfast for dinner comes in (or brinner as I have now decided to call it).  Usually I end up either with a bowl of cereal or an omelette or scrambled eggs…until I made this.  This is incredibly flavourful, awesome if you’re muffintop is starting to creep back and so quick to make (tick-tick-tick), that I made it 3 times in the past week-uh huh, yep, 3 times and the 3rd time I made it when the Dr was home, this is what happened (see below).

Not only are these eggs rocking my world but they have the coolest name(s).  Shakshuka is the Israeli version of the dish and is just super fun to say and sounds like it should have been the name of the first King’s of Leon album or the name of a dance that kinda looks like krumping.  This version usually uses more middle-eastern flavours like cumin, chilli and coriander and often includes slices of capsicum.

Then you have Eggs in Purgatory which is the Italian verison and is apparantly called so because of the eggs slowly cooking surrounded by the bubbling simmering heat of the tomatoes – actually I have absolutely no idea why but this dish uses more Mediterranean flavours like thyme, oregano, basil etc.

My version should be called Shakshuka in Purgatory because what I made ended up sitting between the two as I used flavour elements from both sides because it’s what I had on hand and that’s what’s great about this dish.  If you have a can of tomatoes and some eggs you have the basis of this dish sorted.  Just use what herbs and vegetables you have on hand to build the flavours.  You have my permission to go crazy!

Shakshuka in Purgatory 

Serves 1 to 2

What you need:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced finely
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 can of tomatoes (I had canned cherry tomatoes and it provided so much sweetness to the dish, try to get some if you can)
  • pinch of hot cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 2 eggs (you could easily add another 2 eggs to serve 2)
  • 4 basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1/4 cup persian feta (you can use normal feta, grilled haloumi or crumbled ricotta)
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

In a dry frypan, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant.  This will take 1-2 mins, if the pan is hot.  Remove the cumin seeds and set aside.

In the same frypan, put 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the onion and garlic and cook until onion has started to brown slightly.

Put the cumin seeds back in the pan.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 mins until slightly reduced and thickened.  Add sugar, cayenne pepper, and season with salt.

With a spoon, make two wells in the tomatoes to fit the eggs.  Crack the eggs into those spaces and put the lid on the frypan and cook for 5-10 mins until the whites of the egg have set but the yolks are still runny.

Sprinkle with crumbled feta and basil and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Season eggs with salt and pepper to taste and serve with toast.

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  • Yum! Shakshuka is my favorite (I just posted a recipe too!) so when I saw your post on Tastespotting I had to stop by 🙂 Looks great!

    • Jules

      Thanks for visiting, your version also look mouthwatering!

  • Tysa Kihn

    This is nearly the same recipe as my Easy Huevos Rancheros.  Just using chiles instead of italian flavoring.

    • Jules

      Seems like every culture has their version! Not surprising given how delicious and easy it is! Thanks for dropping by.

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  • Maryam

    Sweetie, this is NOT an Israeli recipe. Everything in their cuisine is borrowed from their Arab neighbours. This is an Arab dish. xx

    • Henry

      First of all if you are going down the Arab route, then the author is still correct. Most Israelis (nationality) are Arabs (race). This dish is an Arab cuisine borrowed and popularized by Arab Jews in Israel.

      Secondly, every dish is borrowed and manipulated from other regions. Hamburgers are a staple American dish, even though they were originally a German food. The only thing that matters is where the dish was popularized.

    • Chris

      Maryam is very right on this on. As a person living in Palestine, this is an Arab dish. Been around well before Israel

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