Tunisian style Poached Eggs aka Chakchouka/Shakshouka

9th mediterranean cooking event - Tunisia - tobias cooks! - 10.06.2010-10.07.2010

For brunch this weekend, we had a Tunisian dish called ‘Chakchouka’ also known as ‘Shakshouka’. It is a popular breakfast in North Africa, especially in Algeria and Tunisia, and also in many Arab countries. It consists of poached or fried eggs cooked in a ragout of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spice and usually served with white bread. Most recipes include the eggs, but they can actually be left out if you like.

If I had’nt told my husband that it was an African dish, he wouldn’t have guessed. Tunisian dishes use a lot of spices that are common in Indian cuisine, like turmeric, coriander and cumin. And surprisingly, Tunisians take a lot more spice than their north african neighbors. Yay for me..I love spicy food. 🙂

Cooking dishes from around the world, is an eye opener for me. Not considering culinary knowledge, even geographically speaking, little had I heard or seen of Tunisia on the World map. Thanks to an event like the  ‘Mediterranean Cooking Event – Tunisia’, I actually took an effort to locate Tunisia on the map and also had a delicious taste of its cuisine. 🙂

In case you are looking for the answer: ‘where is Tunisia on the map?’. See below.(Image courtesy: http://www.worldatlas.com)

Ingredients:
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp paprika
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 Green bell peppers, diced
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1 cup water
Salt to taste
4 Eggs

Method:
Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and let sizzle. Stir in the paprika and cook slighly to color the oil, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft but not brown.

Add the tomatoes and cook until mushy.. Add the peppers, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep it from drying out.
Using a spoon, form four small indentations in the simmering peppers to hold the eggs. One by one, crack the eggs into a small bowl and slip each from the bowl into an indentation.

Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until eggs are cooked through.
Serve with crusty bread, pita or rice.

I served it eggs benedict style, by topping the egg along with the sauce over a crusty piece of toast, with more sauce spooned around it. And extra toast for dipping!

Verdict: The spicy sauce soaked bread, with creamy runny yolk, was delicious…A wonderful combination of veggies and spice that beats a regular omelet hands down…If you are a brunch person like we are…be sure to try this..Its easy to make for company too…coss u can make the sauce ahead of time, just reheat it and poach the eggs.

Sending these also to ‘A.W.E.D – Saudi Arabia‘, an event originally started by DK.

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