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We thought we’d tried every egg recipe in the book, but it turns out we were wrong. A stray look at an old cookbook turned up a particularly interesting Middle Eastern dish called shakshuka. Some call this dish “eggs in purgatory.” What exactly is it? Shakshuka consists of eggs poached in a tomato sauce often with peppers, onions, and cumin. It’s a dish that can be served with pita, or a good, hearty bread. It’s commonly served at breakfast time; a complete meal that gets you powered up for the day ahead.

When serving shakshuka, the trick is to get the poaching time just right. The yolks should just be runny enough that they can be mixed in with the tomato sauce. If you’d prefer the eggs to be a little more runny than that, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes longer before cracking the eggs on top. Keep reading below for this fantastic dish…


(makes 5-6 servings)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 chile pepper, stemmed, de-seeded, and minced
  • 1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley for garnish


  1. In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the chiles and onion, and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown (about 6 minutes). Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and sugar, stirring frequently until the garlic is soft (about 2 more minutes).
  2. Put the tomatoes and their liquid in a medium bowl, and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes, and their liquid to the skillet along with 1/2 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium and summer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly (about 15 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Crack the eggs over the sauce, evenly distributing the eggs across the sauce’s surface. Cover the skillet and cook until the yolks are just set (about 5 minutes). Use a spoon to baste the whites of the eggs with the tomato sauce, being careful to not disturb the yolk. Sprinkle with feta and parsley. Serve with pita.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted fromThe Shiksa in the Kitchen

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