It’s December already! freaks me out how fast 2013 has been. Been actively cooking lots of brunch at home and I’ve gone past that Eggs Ben stage, I think brunch can be more than poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
I’ve been eyeing on Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook (christmas present for me ??). What I like about it is it has some interesting middle eastern dishes that uses lots of vegetables. Vegetables are good but we often don’t eat enough or do not have many ideas on how to cook it differently, other than throwing them into a salad or stir-frying them. So, here is a dish to fill up your vegetable quota and a healthy brunch alternative (or even dinner)
Shakshuka; is a staple of Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisines traditionally served up in a cast iron pan with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews. It is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.
So yesterday I had a friend over for brunch. She’s been pestering me to cook brunch and open up for other people to come, pay me for brunch. I decided to cook the shakshuka in my cast iron Le Creuset pan, some garlic mushroom, feta and arugula salad and some toasted charcoal bread. Well, I had some of the charcoal bread at home, so why not use it. Adds some colour to it too!
Even if you don’t have a cast iron pan, it’s alright. Just get a flat ovenproof dish (like ramekins) and you can cook them individually too.
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 80ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- Up to 100ml water
- 4 free-range eggs
- In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.
- Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaves, thyme, and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.
- Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
- Make 4 cavities in the tomato mixture. Break 1 egg into each cavity, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes.
Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.
Add the red capsicum, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.
Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Make 4 cavities on the pan, spreading the tomato aside. Break eggs into each cavity. Sprinkle with salt. If using stove top, cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes or until the eggs just set. If using an oven, preheat oven to 190 C and let it grill for around 10 minutes too or until eggs are whitish but still wobbly when pan is jiggled. Lastly, sprinkle with roughly chopped coriander.
Don’t forget the bread to mop up all the yummilicious sauce.