I’ve talked a lot of times about my love for breakfast, but I have to say, this might be my favourite breakfast dish for 2015. Shakshouka has been something I’ve wanted to make for a long time, but I kept waiting and waiting until I got myself a cast-iron skillet thinking this was the only way to do it “right”. Still don’t have one, fyi, but I didn’t want to put this off anymore so I just decided to use my wok.
It turns out, because of the wok’s uneven bottom some of the eggs kind of sunk a little as I was poaching them in the sauce. So maybe my Shakshouka doesn’t look quite as pretty as most floating around the internet, but boy was this SO FREAKING GOOD. However I would recommend using a regular old flat skillet for a more attractive effect. Not that using a wok affects the taste of this dish at all!
The flavours of the shakshouka are so bright and sunny, you can’t help but feel powered up as you eat your way through your portion. In my mind as I was eating it, I literally could think of nothing else except for how much I was enjoying my breakfast. Then again, I am a fan of tomatoes and their tanginess, not to mention a big lover of sunny side-up eggs as well. Also, I served this with my absolute favourite breakfast bread of life: the Filipino pan de sal. In other words, this particular breakfast was utter PERFECTION. Waking up early on a Sunday to make this Shakshouka recipe was without a doubt entirely worth it!
But apparently it could still get better.
I decided to open up a bottle of Quaker Good Start Oat Dairy Drink to go with my shakshouka.
I received a little gift from Quaker recently: bottles of their new Quaker Good Start Oat Dairy Drink in both Vanilla Malt and Banana Creme flavour. I like the idea of this oats drink. It’s basically a grab-and-go drink that can help those who are always in a rush during mornings to still have a source of nourishment despite their hectic lifestyle. Marrying the healthy goodness of milk and whole grain oats, this drink is light and creamy but not too sweet. It’s one of those pick-me-up’s that can help cure your mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump, or maybe if you’re just feeling a bit hungry between meals!
Quaker Good Start Oat Drink also has 5.8 grams of fibre, which is more than 20 percent of the recommended daily value. It even has more fibre than real oats (3.4 grams) or two slices of whole grain bread (3.8 grams)! There was a point in time when I ate oatmeal for breakfast everyday, but I soon got a little bored of it so I went back to eating bread. This is definitely a good alternative for people like me who want to get the fibre benefits of oatmeal but who don’t actually want to eat oats! 😛
I’m not a fan of the Vanilla Malt flavour since it tastes really plain (could use a little more vanilla and something else methinks!) but the Banana Creme flavour is so pleasant! I love the smell of banana that floats out of the bottle the moment you take off the cap, and the flavour is not so overwhelming as to be artificial. It is nice and creamy to boot. I love this drink cold! Quaker Good Start Oat Drink retails for Php 28 for 280 mL, in case you want to try it out.
But going back to how head over heels I fell for shakshouka, I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried this dish before somewhere, but surely I’d have an inkling if I had. This is the sort of dish that wakes you up in the mornings because it tickles your tastebuds in such a way that really makes you pay attention. The tomatoes turn creamy thanks to the addition of feta, making it such a pleasure to clean up the plate with some warm pan de sal!
Shakshouka is traditionally a breakfast food but it’s something you can (and would probably want to after you get that first taste!) have for lunch or dinner as well. It’s basically eggs poached in tomato sauce that’s flavoured with onions, peppers, and a bunch of spices. The most important spice used here is cumin as it gives the dish a bit of a warm exotic earthiness, but adding paprika and cayenne just gives it a nice smoky-spicy flavour as well that complements the tang of the diced tomatoes.
I recommend topping this with cilantro for more flavour, but since I forgot to buy some I plucked out some basil from my garden instead. It worked pretty well too!
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large bell pepper, deseeded and sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 800 grams (28-ounces) canned diced tomatoes with juices
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 to 1-1/4 cups crumbled feta
- 6 large eggs
- cilantro or basil, for topping
- pita bread or other bread of choice, to serve
- 1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, and cook until very soft and aromatic, anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes depending on how thinly they are sliced. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so until fragrant. Stir in the spices and cook one more minute to allow vegetables to absorb the flavours.
- 2. Pour in the canned tomatoes, then season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined with the other vegetables and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the feta cheese until fully combined.
- 3. Gently crack in the eggs evenly around the pan over the sauce. Top them with a little salt and pepper, then simmer until the eggs are just set, around 10 minutes or less. Sprinkle cilantro or basil leaves on top, then serve with lots of warm toasty bread to mop up the sauce.
As someone who loves spicy food, I should’ve eaten this with hot sauce over my poached eggs, but I didn’t have any problems mopping up my plate without it. Pita, what pita? Pan de sal was all that we needed, and not a drop of tomato or runny egg yolk was left in sight.