I’ve been meaning to get into the Shakshuka groove ever since I had it for breakfast at Nopi in London, and on my trip to Israel, where this North African dish wowed me – and my taste buds – every morning. Although various versions abound, the most widely known Shakshuka involves eggs softly cooked in a hot skillet of spiced tomato sauce. I’ve had plenty of spicy foods in my life, but the complex seasoning in the sauces that I’ve tasted in the ones I had lingered with me for months afterward, and I had no choice but to make it at home. (Or move to London – or North Africa.)

peppers for shakshuka

I went to the market in search of chile peppers, and I was happy to track down a couple. The long green ones aren’t very piquante, so I was thrilled to come across a box of the pleated red ones, whose name no one knew, but the fellow warned me was “Très piquante, monsieur.” Bring it on! I say. And when I got it home and chopped it up, I can’t complain as I had been adequately warned.

shakshuka spices

I was inspired by recipes in Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts, and Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, two terrific books that I’ve been diving into lately. Jerusalem is a city full of conflict, cultures, clashes, and contrasts. The authors of the book, Sami and Yotam, are Palestinian and Israeli (respectively), and the book has essays on the confusion and collusion in the various cuisines found in this complicated, yet fascinating, city.

chopped peppers for shakshuka tomato paste for shakshuka
shakshuka tomato sauce for shakshuka

Like the other books by Yotam Ottolenghi (and the first one, with Sami) Jerusalem is stunning and leafing through the book of pages awash with grilled vegetables, shimmering olive oil, toasty pine nuts, and plenty of fresh, green herbs strewn everywhere, it’s hard not to bookmark every single page as something I want to make.

spicy tomato sauce for shakshuka

Many of you are likely familiar with Adam Roberts, author of Amateur Gourmet, and Secrets of the Best Chefs, where he visited the kitchens (and in the case of Alice Waters, gardens) of some of America’s best chefs, including Daniel Patterson, Jonathan Waxman, Lidia Bastianich, José Andrés, and Nancy Silverton.


As a self-professed “amateur”, with his typical chutzpah, Adam coaxed these chefs not just to share their recipes, but their secret kitchen tips. And he shares them all in this easy-to-use book with great photos of the in-kitchen action. And, of course, with recipes from the delicious results of his encounters with the chefs, all translated by Adam for home cooks.

I took a cue from the experts, and the amateur, for this dish of fiery tomato sauce and gently cooked eggs, meant to be sopped up with hunks of crusty bread. Once you have the sauce, you can make dinner in a matter of minutes and when in Tel Aviv, folks I had breakfast with told me that they keep Shakshuka sauce frozen at all times so they can make this dish whenever they want, even at dinner.

So feel free to make extra sauce and keep it on hand when the mood hits. I have a few batches in my freezer right now, because that mood has been hitting me more and more these days. And I’m sure it will in the future, as well.

Print Recipe
3 to 4 servings
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts. I’ve made Shakshuka a number of ways; in individual baking dishes, so everyone gets their own portion, to using a large skillet, so folks can eat communally. I’ve given indications for how to do both. Because everyone likes their eggs cooked differently (which is why when I was cooking in restaurants, I refused to work breakfast shifts – talk about stress!), keep an eye on the Shakshuka as its cooking and use the times indicated as guidelines; various factors can affect cooking times and it’s hard to say precisely how long they will cook. When served, the eggs should be still runny so that the yolks mingle with the spicy sauce.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 chile pepper (or to taste) stemmed, sliced in half and deseeded, finely diced/minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds crushed, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 pounds (1kg) ripe tomatoes, cored and diced, or two 14-ounce cans of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine or cider vinegar
1 cup (20g) loosely packed greens, such as radish greens, watercress, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach, coarsely chopped
4 ounces (about 1 cup, 115g) feta cheese, cut in generous, bite-sized cubes
4 to 6 eggs
1. In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and wilted. Add the chile pepper, the salt, pepper, and spices. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, to release their fragrance.
2. Add the fresh or canned tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and vinegar, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened somewhat but is still loose enough so that when you shake the pan it sloshes around. (Fresh tomatoes may take a little longer to cook than canned.) Stir in the chopped greens.
3. If you want to finish the Shakshuka on the stovetop, turn off the heat and press the cubes of feta into the tomato sauce. With the back of a spoon, make 6 indentations in the sauce. Crack an egg into each indentation, then drag a spatula gently through the egg whites so it mingles a bit with the tomato sauce, being careful not to disturb the yolks.
Turn the heat back on so the sauce is at a gentle simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, taking some of the tomato sauce and basting the egg whites from time-to-time. Cover, and cook 3 or 4, or up to 8 minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
4. To finish them individually, preheat the oven to 375ºF (180ºC.) Divide the sauce into 6 baking dishes and press the feta cubes into the sauce. Set the baking dishes on a baking sheet, make an indentation in each, and crack and egg into the center. Bake until the eggs are cooked to your liking, basting the whites with some of the sauce midway during baking, which will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes – but begin checking them sooner to get them just right. If the yolks begin to get a little firm on top before the whites are cooked, drape a sheet of foil over them, but avoid having it touch the yolks.
Serve with lots of crusty bread for scraping up the sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Shakshuka shakshuka shakshuka recipe 1



  • February 14, 2013 4:11pm

    What a beautiful & useful post! Like you, I’ve been fascinated with shakshuka since a trip to Israel but I haven’t tried to make it at home. Now I will – hopefully this weekend.

  • February 14, 2013 4:18pm

    Looks fantastically yummy!
    Going to have to give this a go asap.
    Thanks David!

  • Annie
    February 14, 2013 4:20pm

    Looks like a Scotch bonnet pepper, which are very hot indeed!

    • February 14, 2013 4:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      They don’t usually label peppers here by variety but I’ve bought these in markets that cater to folks from the Antilles and when I took the tiniest bite of this one when I chopped it, I felt like my mouth was on fire. I loved it and it was great in the Shakshuka. Thanks for the ID.

  • ClaireD
    February 14, 2013 4:23pm

    That red pepper in the second picture is a habanero, my friend. One of the hottest peppers around. Not surprising that the recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 “chili pepper”. It’s the oil in the peppers that makes them so hot and lots of chefs in the SW US use gloves when preparing them. Once my husband used about half a dozen in a recipe for pico de gallo which included carrots and onions, all chopped in the food processor. We had to throw the processor out because we couldn’t get the flavor out of the chopping bowl regardless of how many times it went through the dishwasher.

    All that said, this dish looks fantastic! And I imagine it’s a perfect hangover cure.

  • naomi
    February 14, 2013 4:23pm

    Because of your earlier post about “Jerusalem” I have the book. Now, I really need to try that dish. Bird’s Eye peppers are small – less than an inch, fairly easy to grow, but HOT, though they have that nice fruitiness too. The plant only grows about a foot or so in my New Orleans courtyard – wonder if you could find one there?

    As usual, a good post (especially as just last night I finished reading “The Sweet Life in Paris”).

    • February 14, 2013 4:26pm
      David Lebovitz

      I have some of those that I bought at the Asian market, probably for Thai cooking? They’re plenty hot as well. It’s hard to write recipes for with hot peppers in them because each one is so different. Glad you liked the post, and the book!

  • Judi
    February 14, 2013 4:24pm

    This has nothing to do with your post but the Boston Globe has a photo tour of the Taza chocolate factory that I thought you might like.

  • Veyron
    February 14, 2013 4:32pm

    There’s a great clip on YouTube of Ottolenghi cooking this with the legendary Dr Shakshouka:

  • Flavia
    February 14, 2013 4:33pm

    My mom told me (and made) shakshuka when I was little. It’s had a special place in my heart since. This version looks delicious! I’m going to make it this weekend. Thanks, David, for this great post.

  • February 14, 2013 4:37pm

    I took a trip to Morocco two years ago and have since been fascinated by North African cuisine. I am also a huge fan of baked egg dishes. Now I have a recipe that combines the two to make at home! Thank you!

  • February 14, 2013 4:56pm
    David Lebovitz

    Veyron: Thanks. Yotam Ottolenghi did a great program on Jerusalam for the BBC. Unfortunately it’s only available in certain geographical areas but it’s really terrific. The book is great as well, not just for the recipes, but for reading about the city and the various cultures and cuisines there.

    Mari: I was interested to learn that Shakshuka is often make with potatoes or spinach, or in other ways, not just spicy tomato sauce. I love Middle Eastern and North African food and love all the spices and seasonings.

  • Jae in B'more
    February 14, 2013 5:11pm

    LOVE this the photos – can’t wait to try. I do a quick version of this with a good quality jarred salsa (love Green Mountain Gringo) or my own homemade salsa if I have it – tasty, but not as sophisticated and complex. You are my new fave food blogger!

  • February 14, 2013 5:13pm

    Been wanting to try this ever since seeing it on Ottolenghi’s show on British TV. It looks seriously delicious!

  • February 14, 2013 5:24pm

    At first sight I thought I know this dish from Ialy, Uova al Pomodoro, but upon seeing the spices and reading the recipe, I realized that Shakshuka is an entirely different dish. Much more complex. Thank you for sharing it, I can’t wait to try it for Sunday breakfast.

  • Jonathan
    February 14, 2013 5:32pm

    I remember having this in the Carmel market in Tel Aviv the day i left Israel. Between the personable cook behind the counter, the other diners at the stand and all the fresh fruit and vegetables – it was one of the more memorable parts of my trip there.

  • Dani
    February 14, 2013 5:36pm

    Great post! I learned of shakshuka only about two years ago from a Korean-American friend. I immediately fell in love with this dish, not only for breakfast but also for an easy dinner. I am eager to try your recipe since, as you have noted, there are many variations out there. Personally, the scotch bonnet chili is a bit too high on the Scoville scale for me, so I use Thai peppers or jalapenos if I can get them.

  • February 14, 2013 5:57pm

    I love the book Jerusalem as well. It is packed with such a wonderful range of Arab and Jewish recipes. I love the spices in this sauce, they are totally what I love in tomato based sauces. I love poached eggs too but eggs with the sauce – I am just not sure but given that you and so many others here are proclaiming it’s deliciousness I shall have to try it out!

  • February 14, 2013 5:58pm

    I just bought Jerusalem and couldn’t put it down. I read it cover to cover in one evening! Now, I have to go back through and try the recipes. Love all the spices in this dish and eggs go so well with tomatoes. The red pepper looks like a habanero or scotch bonnet, which I planted one year, and never could use the million I got out of one plant because they were SO hot.


  • Mary
    February 14, 2013 6:01pm

    That looks fantastic David!

  • Paola
    February 14, 2013 6:01pm

    Wow, this looks fantastic! Have you ever had “Huevos Ahogados” The literal translation is drowned eggs. It’s quite similar, a very thick tomato broth with some vegetables, usually onions and poblano peppers, once boiling the eggs are dropped and cooked through. It’s eaten in a bowl with a spoon and a rolled tortilla to dip. You would like!!!!!

  • February 14, 2013 6:02pm

    Love this — and the book Jerusalem – I went to their book launch in Toronto and heard them speak — charming. Am trying your Shakshuka adaptation for dinner tonight!

  • Laura
    February 14, 2013 6:04pm

    I believe that is a very ripe and very hot Habanero. I grew them in my yard in California. Use sparingly, not for the lightweight!! I look forward to trying this dish!!
    Thank you

  • Cathy
    February 14, 2013 6:04pm

    I haven’t made or eaten this yet, but I have made another recipe that is Sami’s – it’s a tomato and couscous recipe which is very comforting. Will certainly have a go at this one, or maybe hurry along to Nopi first to see what it is supposed to taste like.

  • February 14, 2013 6:08pm
    David Lebovitz

    Laura: It’s funny that you (and others) commented on the spiciness of that chile! I used the whole thing and while it was hot and spicy, I’m not a hard-core chile/spicy-hot addict, and it was fine for me and my guests. The one I made today I used one bird’s eye chile which added a nice hear.

    Paola: I’ve not had that but it sounds great too. I love most Mexican dishes, and tortillas. Sounds like another winner. And like another trip to Mexico may be in order…

  • February 14, 2013 6:11pm

    Hi David. I’m from Australia but now living in Paris. This dish has become my signature Sunday brunch dish after I spotted Dr Shakshuka doing it on a TV program a couple of years back. I sometimes do it in a very large Paella pan, on the BBQ. I often throw in some extras like fresh baby spinach leaves or some left over white haricot beans.Yes, it diverts a bit sometimes form the pure original recipe but that’s cooking! I found the secret is to experiment with different sausages. The merguez sausages I’ve found so far in Paris aren’t doing the trick for me. I’m sure there are good ones, I just haven’t found them yet. I use chorizo and spicy local sausages. In Sydney there was a supermarket butcher who had award winning Moroccan Lamb sausages with great spices and sultanas in them. They added an extra depth with the sweet burst of the sultana occasionally softening the blow of the chillis. It’s a great dish to play with and experiment with left overs. Take my advice, make a big communal skillet/pan and bring it to the table, dish it out from there and have that bread handy, its great. Your guest love the spectacle and it is still an unfamiliar dish to most. My 14 year old son never leaves any in the pan, he eats it until it’s gone. Love the blog.

  • Cyndy
    February 14, 2013 6:21pm

    Oh, this looks lovely. The only thing we can’t get here in the states are eggs the quality of those in France and Italy (and maybe other European countries as well, but those are the ones I’ve cooked with). It must be the terroir. No matter how cage-free, free-range, pasture-roamin’ they claim to be, the color and taste of American eggs are just not the same.

    • jyc
      February 14, 2013 6:51pm

      It’s possible to get eggs that good directly from the farmer, depending on their methods. In central NJ is a guy who does pasture raised with a movable pen. He moves the pen every week and does soil tests every week because the ph balance and the mineral balance affects how effectively the grass absorbs nutrients. The difference in cooking/baking with those eggs is pretty incredible.

      It wouldn’t hurt to check with your local farmers about their methodology.

  • Gina
    February 14, 2013 6:26pm

    Reminds me of Mexico’s huevos rancheros, and if I were to cook your recipe, I’d try it with corn tortillas instead of bread. Miam, miam!

  • KiwiRob
    February 14, 2013 6:43pm

    I had just received the book ‘Jerusalem’, a few hours ago & have already started cooking from it. Now you have told us about the TV series connected with this : we are unlikely to see this in New Zealand, but I have found lots of clips from it on YouTube (search ‘Ottolenghi + Jerusalem’). It really brings the recipes to life, I can almost taste them – at the end of each one, I find myself saying “Yum!” Thanks for sharing the wealth of this book :)

    • February 14, 2013 8:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’m not sure why the Jerusalem program isn’t available outside of the UK, but it likely has something to do with broadcasting rights of the BBC. It was a great show.

  • Bebe
    February 14, 2013 6:43pm

    Scotch bonnet (named for its tam shape) and habanero are similar but not the same pepper.

    The Scotch bonnet has a sweeter flavour and stouter shape, distinct from its habanero cousin with which it is often confused,

  • February 14, 2013 6:47pm

    I love the new cookbook: Jerusalem! My husband brought it back from London last week for me last week as a consolation as he told me he was going the Nopi, and didn’t even know who Yotem Ottolenghi was! I’ve made 6 recipes out of it so far and they’re all outstanding!

  • February 14, 2013 6:51pm

    This looks fantastic. I’ve had some great Shakshuka in New York but it’s hard to come by in North Carolina! I love Ottolenghi and his Jerusalem cookbook – will have to add this recipe to the list.

    • February 14, 2013 8:23pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s so easy to make at home, you can even make it in North Carolina : )

  • February 14, 2013 6:56pm

    I believe there must be versions of this dish in many cuisines. Several are listed in the comments above, and to those I will add one with which I am sure you are familiar: Basque Piperade served with poached egg in the center. Without the spices and chili pepper it has a very different flavor profile, but the technique and concept are similar. Perhaps we could find a dish like this in nearly every tomato-growing region…
    I am looking forward to trying Shakshuka– thank you for the inspiration!

  • February 14, 2013 6:57pm

    Perfect brunch menu thing to make.

  • February 14, 2013 7:07pm

    This dish reminds me of huevos rancheros which I’ve been thinking about making for so long – guess I better get going on that. Beautiful recipe and lovely pictures.

  • Susan
    February 14, 2013 7:07pm

    Thanks David–
    I have the book Jerusalem but it’s always inspiring and wonderful to see your beautiful photos and insights–now I want to make Shakshuka!

  • February 14, 2013 7:08pm

    David, your shakshuka looks and sounds fabulous. I actually first had shakshuka right here in Paris at a couscous joint up in Belleville. But yours looks and sounds much more delicious! I’m very tempted to try your recipe.

  • Vivian
    February 14, 2013 7:16pm

    While I haven’t read the books you relied on, I have spent a lot of time in Morocco and know that you & your books have omitted 1 fundamental step:
    the peppers and the onion must first be charred on a flame (grill or gas stove top).

  • Suzie Stein
    February 14, 2013 7:28pm

    I’m sure if you don’t fancy making Shakshuka, you can find one of the many kosher Sephardi restaurants in Paris that cook the real thing, really hot and spicy. Ottolenghi was recently on UK Channel 4 a series of programmes Mediterranean Feasts and watched Shakshuka being made by the Shakshuka King of Tel Aviv !!. Love your blog, thanks.

    • February 14, 2013 8:21pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve not seen a restaurant in Paris where this is on the menu. If you (or anyone) has any addresses, it would be great to visit a few places and get different versions of this and other hot and spicy foods. I just know the places on the rue des Rosiers that serve falafel and there’s nothing like this there that I know of.

      Someone posted a link to the video of Yotam and Dr. Shakshuka making this. It was edited heavily (that boatload of garlic! all those chiles!) but his was definitely very soupy. I didn’t go there in Tel Aviv but it’s on my list if I ever get back.

  • AnnaZed
    February 14, 2013 7:29pm

    David! How marvelous; I’ll have to make this.

    Now, there is an Italian version of this that I have had where the eggs are basically poached on the top of the stove in a much more liquid tomato sauce then fished out with a slotted spoon and plunked an a wedge of bread. It is very important for the yoke to still be loose in this dish. For once there is no cheese involved, just the egg and the sauce and not much of that. It’s one of the most wonderful things that I have eaten in my entire life; yet,I can’t remember what it’s called! The elderly Italian grandmother of a friend in New York made it one Sunday for everyone. She had the sauce ready and poached an egg for whomever wanted one to order. The children were particularly into this. What is that called?

    As noted above, that red thing is obviously a Scotch Bonnet with Scoville units in the hundreds of thousands.

  • AnnaZed
    February 14, 2013 7:34pm

    Ah yes! (nevermind) having asked you I had to just look it up myself, Uova al Purgatorio.

    Here’s a version in the NYT, but she adds the damn cheese and it looks too chunky to me. Maybe the grandmother was making the little kid’s version, ha! I was told absolutely no cheese.

    In any case, these dishes are related, obviously.

  • February 14, 2013 7:34pm

    When I lived on kibbutz, shakshuka was one of the mainstays for cooking on the hotplate in our room when we did’t feel like going to the main dining room. When I lived in Egypt it was a staple of the break fast during Ramadan, although a slightly different version. When I lived in Texas, I made it more like huevos motulenos, and it is indeed quite good with tortillas. It’s still a go-to quick supper for us.

  • February 14, 2013 7:49pm

    I see all the folks who have identified the habanero – but David’s report suggests that it is not that hot. Peppers can hybridize and it may be that this one was tempered by a milder pepper at pollination time. Looks like a duck but might be something else.

  • Patsy
    February 14, 2013 7:55pm

    Recently made a version of this dish, loved it. But you really have to watch that
    the yolks don’t overcook.

  • February 14, 2013 7:55pm

    Like looks amazing, and I cannot wait to try.
    Anything with spicy/eggs combo, sign me up.

    This is perfect for someone likes me who reaches for the hot sauce as soon as my breakfast/brunch meal is set in front of me.
    Thank you for the no-dairy!

  • February 14, 2013 8:06pm

    I love shakshuka! Lately I have been having it in a place at the Carmel Market,a version of shakshuka they call Balkan shakshuka with eggplant and feta cheese!

  • February 14, 2013 8:15pm

    Something must be in the air. About two months ago I had a fantastic stripped back shakshouka at a local cafe and decided to have a go myself, but with more spicing and more ‘bits’ in. MIne is similarly spiced to yours but more aromatic than out and out spicy: I used cardamom, fresh Greek oregano, kale, antipasti artichokes and antipasti peppers too. Shakshouka – whatever the version – is such a delicious and healthy meal. So glad you are publicising it widely with your fabulous blog and uber-appetising images.

  • February 14, 2013 8:25pm

    This looks amazing! I could devour that right now…

  • February 14, 2013 8:39pm

    I’ve made the recipe according to Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall, out of the book Everyday Veg. Even managed to find duck eggs, it was truly amazing.

    • February 15, 2013 9:01am
      David Lebovitz

      It’s one of those dishes where the quality of the eggs makes a difference. Duck eggs are great, but they’re huge and not easily available. We get good eggs in France, and I search out free-range. Although when I can get real farm eggs, I try to stock up on them.

  • Aliza
    February 14, 2013 9:33pm

    Funny that you should say that shakshuka can be eaten “even at dinner”, as that’s served once a week for dinner in my house! Aside from the fact that it’s delicious, it’s quite healthy and cheap. Happy that you’re spreading the word on this fantastic dish

  • February 14, 2013 10:36pm

    A childhood favorite and still is. I just love shakshouka!

  • February 14, 2013 10:54pm

    I’ve been waiting for you to post some shakshuka! Those habanero looking chiles are called “piment antillais” or “piment canine” here in France. I’d say it’s very very similar to a habanero, except you can actually enjoy the taste in the heat instead of full on heat. Bravo I love putting your ideas to execution in my American accented French kitchen.

  • February 14, 2013 11:13pm

    I love shakshuka, I almost always order it when it’s on the menu when we go out for breakfast! I like the idea of making extra to freeze for later.

  • Suzie Stein
    February 15, 2013 12:19am

    I’ll try and find out the name of the places to go to in Paris and post.The Ottolenghi programmes were delightful food wise. The Tel Aviv one was really amusing as Dr
    Shakshuka obviously didn’t like the way Ottolenghi made it.

    • February 15, 2013 8:59am
      David Lebovitz

      People there are very (very) opinionated about everything and there is great debate over anything food-related, including hummus. There is a very good essay in the book, Jerusalem, about all the debates about who makes the “best” and so forth. Often people think their version, or another one, is better than the one that you know about, or are making. It’s part of the culture I think.

  • Sarahb1313
    February 15, 2013 12:33am

    So, because i love freshly prepared food, i actually make this dish at work on a hot plate for lunch! Now I have a sexy name for it- will sound much better than “eggs poached in salsa”. I use my favorite salsa in a pinch. I love the idea of using North African spices- this may drive my collegues nuts!

    Thanks for the recipe.

  • February 15, 2013 12:42am

    Ooooh, this looks so good. I think this is the third or fourth time in recent months I’ve seen someone post about shakshuka too, so I think I am finally going to take the hint and make it! Looks too good to resist.

    Funny thing about the peppers. I have had the problem here in rural southwest France that I can’t seem to find anything other than piment doux (which has absolutely no heat to it) and habaneros/scotch bonnet peppers (your fellow posters are now making me doubt what I was certain was a habanero). I have missed jalapenos and serranos so much, I was thinking of begging someone to send me some seeds so I can grow some in pots out my apartment window. Although, during the right time of year here, we should hopefully be getting fresh piments d’Espelette, which are absolutely a delight. For a present when I went back to the US, I dried out a couple of cords of them, then whizzed them in the thermomix to make fresh piment d’Espelette spice. It turned out wonderfully, and for much, much cheaper than what you find in stores. It was a good present for my foodie friends.

    • February 15, 2013 8:56am
      David Lebovitz

      One thing I do is when I can get real hot chiles, I pickle them to preserve them. But these chiles should be available elsewhere in France if you check out shops that cater to Africans or folks from the Middle East. However if you live in a rural area, you likely don’t have access to them. But next time you’re near a major city, you might want to do some scouting around. (Also you could perhaps find a mail-order place in France or Spain?)

  • Matt
    February 15, 2013 1:00am

    There’s an Italian version of this that’s a bit simpler, but also quite delicious. I first learned about it from, of all places, the Soprano Family Cookbook (based of the HBO series) where it is listed as Uova in Purgatorio. It’s all over the web.

    For me, the key to the recipe is charring the tomato sauce or tomato paste a bit. I brings out an amazing flavor not there if the sauce is just warmed.

  • Margje
    February 15, 2013 1:49am

    The red pepper on the picture is not habanero but it is an adjuma-pepper. See also:

  • Philip
    February 15, 2013 2:39am

    I’m surprised you never ran into this in California as Huevos Ranchero. Growing up in New York, for me it was Eggs in Purgatory.

    I could see adding harissa and preserved lemon to your recipe. It’s amazing what one can do to a can to tomatoes.

  • Avital
    February 15, 2013 2:47am

    Hi David
    Between London and North Africa, the real Shakshukas in Israel are a quick and happy fry, simple and quick. I use hot and sweet pepper and add very little garlic, few kinds of (peeled) tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, good salt and pepper, a lot of green fresh spices, parsley and Kousbara, and I don’t cook it so long. We try to be on the light side of cooking.
    We don’t “cook the soul” of the Shakshuka (we do that to people).

  • JadedK
    February 15, 2013 4:02am

    Oh, how I wish I could eat this delectable-looking dish. Unfortunately, both tomatoes and hot peppers are Death to my stomach. Sigh. At the peak of my obsession, I ate African-style “pili-pili” on just about anything short of fruit. Well, truth be told, I did try it on mangos once or twice — pas mal du tout! So I acquired a rather vast knowledge of the range of “bouquets.” There is indeed a subtle but distinctive difference between Scotch bonnets and habaneros. They’re both always predictably astronomically high on the Scoville scale, but the flavors, if you’ve worked up to the hottest levels and are capable of tasting them through the “heat,” are not the same.

    And the tiny little “bird peppers” that grow like weeds in Louisiana also have a savor all their own. The traditional use for those is to pack a slim-neck jar (e.g., used Worcestershire bottle with the little plastic “filter” intact) with whole peppers, add vinegar, let it sit for a few days, giving it a shake or two every day, and sprinkle the pepper vinegar liberally on everything. No respectable Cajun would even think of eating red beans and rice without it! Keep adding vinegar back to the dispenser, as you use it. This will last longer than you think.

    Jalapenos are the hardest to predict — their heat depends on the time of year and of course on the “terroir” in which they grew. You have to taste at least a tiny slice before using them with abandon. They may be quite mild; and they may knock your sinuses for a loop.

    Glad to see you’re experimenting, David. Peppers are a wonder. I still love them, but have to limit my consumption to the milder varieties.

    To your readers who want to grow them, it’s actually pretty easy to end up with more than you can use — they need full sun for at least 3 months, and regular watering. The leaves may wither in the heat of a really hot summer, but don’t give up — the peppers themselves will survive. Whirl them in a blender, add a touch of vinegar, a bit of salt, and put the “sauce” in tiny jars, so you can give them as gifts. They’ll last for months, if not years, in the fridge. I promise!

  • JadedK
    February 15, 2013 4:19am

    Ooops. Sorry! I meant to say that Scotch bonnets and habaneros are easy to grow, if SUPER HOT is what you want. I think I actually started them from seed. I had a patch of them in my yard in New Orleans, ready to harvest at the time I sold my house. Having no time to deal with them, I gave them all away to a very appreciative young man who thought he had stumbled into a gold mine. What I had would have made a LOT of “pili-pili.”

  • ron shapley
    February 15, 2013 4:41am

    On a theme of Eggs in Purgatory………..A Moroccan ragout with poached eggs…
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 large onion, small dice
    4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    1 pound merguez sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
    1 tablespoon ras el hanout
    1 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 fifteen-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
    8 extra-large eggs
    1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems included
    2 tablespoons harissa (optional)
    Warm crusty bread, for serving

  • February 15, 2013 5:09am

    Just looking at your posts it makes my mouth to overflow of water! hehehe….,, its just so yummy…..

  • Gavrielle
    February 15, 2013 5:24am

    Shakshuka is for some reason a hot item on cafes right now in Auckland, but it had never occurred to me to make my own. Which I will now definitely be doing.

    Gorgeous photos too. Which reminds me to thank you for your photo gear post – I just bought my first DSLR and because of your enthusiasm about your macro lens bought one too. I’m entranced with it!

  • James G
    February 15, 2013 8:36am

    This has been something I’ve wanted to try for a while, having read about it in Jerusalem when I got it, so your post is spurring me to make a batch tomorrow. Have you ever tried leblebi, another North African breakfast staple, made with a base of chickpeas?

  • Mirtha
    February 15, 2013 8:46am

    someone may have already posted this, but that small chile is an “habanero” in Mexico, or a “scotch bonnet” I believe it’s called elsewhere. I’m a fake Mexican, regardless of what my birth certificate says, so I don’t eat chile and therefore not cook very spicy foods. My ex-husband used to bite the habanero as he ate his meal.

    this dish looks delish, and I’m pretty sure my Dad will enjoy it.


  • February 15, 2013 8:46am

    This looks so fantastic, I wish I was having it for dinner. Although, I do happen to have a similar tomato sauce bubbling away on the stove, so maybe I’ll just add a few extra spices into it.

  • dan
    February 15, 2013 8:57am

    shakshoka is one of the most easy and simple dishes ,why complicating it?

  • tunie
    February 15, 2013 9:11am

    To think – all those strange people who eat ketchup on their eggs are really trying to eat this, but just don’t realize it – must be some kind of cellular memory bubbling up from the ancestral gene pool!

    • February 15, 2013 9:36am
      David Lebovitz

      That is interesting; I never thought of that. So few people think of what ketchup was originally – a spiced condiment from Asia that may – or may not – contain tomatoes. And it does seem like an interesting connection between people pouring ketchup on their scrambled eggs nowadays, to dishes like this.

  • Marina
    February 15, 2013 10:21am

    Shakshuka has been my favourite meal ever since I saw this recipe and video on the Guardian website almost 3 years ago:

    And before that, a version of uova (or uove, since I always had more than one!) in purgatorio was an occasional and always surprisingly delicious comfort.

    This recipe looks beautiful and I’m anxious to try it this weekend. The two hooks for me: caraway seeds and the mere mention of adding radish greens (so good and I can’t believe I just tossed them for years). Thank you, David.

  • Sissy
    February 15, 2013 12:34pm

    There is a similar dish like this one that I eat for breakfast whenever I am in Taos NM. Their version has beans and cheese and scrambled eggs. The whole thing is baked and served in an individual black ceramic dish
    with the best grilled flour tortilla. If only I lived close to Taos — I sometimes wake up dying to eat that for breakfast…

    • Cathy
      February 15, 2013 1:34pm

      I do not like ketchup, but love tomatoes, go figure. David, have you ever tried mushroom ketchup?

  • February 15, 2013 2:56pm

    Wow, that looks a lot like what I’ve been making for breakfast myself lately, although I totally cheat by just pouring a bunch of hot El Paso salsa on top of my eggs when they’re about halfway done. I also fry my eggs in a tablespoon or two of butter, so I get a nice crispy base. I should probably have my cholesterol checked, but it can’t be worse than the “healthy” chocolate muesli cereal I used to eat. ;-)

  • Iryna
    February 15, 2013 7:16pm

    Hi David, this looks so mouthwatering! Can’t wait to make Shakshuka (love the name!). Just baked your German Choco Cupcakes – they were an absolute delight! Thanks for sharing! Would love to see video recipes on your blog. :)

  • February 15, 2013 8:24pm

    Where to get shakshuka in Paris? It’s mainly a French-Jewish-Tunisian thing over here. I used to go to a couscous place on the Boulevard de Belleville called (with a wink at Charlie Chaplin) ‘Chez Charlot / A la lumière de Belleville’. They had a nice ‘chakchouka’, as it’s spelled in French. But unfortunately they no longer exist. I’ve taken a quick look online and found one place that has it — only on Tuesdays! It’s Chez René et Gabin, 92 Boulevard de Belleville. They describe the dish as ‘ratatouille de légumes avec merguez’, making it sound pretty far from the beautiful dish you presented in your post. I will check with my friend Claude, who knows every Tunisian place in town (and makes a fabulous shakshuka), and get back to you on this…

  • February 15, 2013 8:31pm

    this is my dream breakfast. i need to try it at home already.

  • Ioana
    February 15, 2013 9:34pm

    the small hot pepper is a scotch bonnet pepper or habanero pepper, chinese capsicum

  • Glenda
    February 15, 2013 10:12pm

    David, I adore your posts. A while back I made your other Shakshuka recipe and it was amazing! I noticed you’ve made some changes in this current recipe. I plan to make Shakshuka tonight. Love this dish!

    Thank you for this and every wonderful post you share. You’re so generous!

  • Peter Longenecker
    February 15, 2013 11:17pm

    You mentioned none of the restos on rue des Rosiers has this dish available. Have you tried any of the North African restaurants (e.g., Zerda or Hamadi)?

    BTW, we recently had an extraordinarily good couscous at Zerda: with lamb mechoui. I’m still thinking about it.

    Can’t wait to try the Shakshuka at home. Thanks!

    • February 16, 2013 4:00pm
      David Lebovitz

      I haven’t discovered any exceptional North African restaurants in Paris. The places on the rue des Rosiers aren’t shining examples of Mediterranean cuisine but I haven’t ventured out much in search of places. (I’ve been trying to find a great Lebanese place as well. There are plenty of them, but I haven’t found a great one yet – years ago a Lebanese friend took me to an amazing place, which unfortunately closed.) I used to go to a place at Chateau Rouge for couscous, but the last few times I went, it wasn’t as good as it was before. Thanks for the addresses. Will add them to my list of places to try.

  • February 16, 2013 12:57am

    I’ve had a similar dish at a middle eastern restaurant in Brooklyn and I’ve always assumed it was one of those dishes that was only eaten in a restaurant. Your recipe is so inspirational! I can’t wait to create shakshuka at home.

  • Michele Patterson
    February 16, 2013 1:19am

    You make me happy David! So many of your posts take me back to childhood memories in Egypt and in France. You taught me to make chocolate matzo for Passover and now the shakshuka that I never really liked when my father prepared it. Now, I’m determined to make it and love it! I look forward to your posts and pins every week!!! Thank you!

    • February 16, 2013 4:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks! You must have had some great foods in Egypt. It’s one of the places I’ve always wanted to go. Do try this Shakshuka. It’s my newest favorite dish : )

  • Patrick Kopplin
    February 16, 2013 1:24am

    Looks a lot like Eggs in Purgatory, a Tex Mex breakfast dish. I’m sure most egg eating cultures have a similar dish. But Tex Mex rules.

  • Denise
    February 16, 2013 6:46am

    The red, pleated chiles are habanero.

  • Laurn
    February 16, 2013 3:49pm

    I only allow myself to buy one or two new cookbooks a year now. Jerusalem was my pick this year and is now my favorite — and so interesting to read too.

  • Khendra
    February 16, 2013 3:55pm

    As someone said, the red one could be a scotch bonnet, but also a habanero sort. Great things, those. Hot, but with a great fruity smell and taste behind the heat (try different sorts and they all hava a different aroma, if you start growing them, you’ll get addicted pretty soon probably). They are great also for candying (is that a real word? I mean soaking them for days in sugar solution with more sugar every day and then let them get dry and hard or just keeping them in the syrup), then crushing and putting over chocolate icecream. And if you want just the fruity part there is at least one habanero sort which is not hot. Dull in my opinion but sometimes better for guests.

  • Elemjay
    February 16, 2013 6:22pm

    Just made this for lunch today – it was *outstanding*. Thank you David for a great recipe. I had made a version before but the tomatoes got too stodgy and this was tons better (great spicing and the feta is inspired). Thank you!

  • Maida
    February 17, 2013 3:47am

    I’ve been making this for oh, so long and it’s the best breakfast ever!
    The pepper looks like a red Habanero.

  • Debbie C
    February 17, 2013 4:27am

    I found out about Ottolenghi through an eggplant orzo recipe that Deb posted on Smitten Kitchen. After making the pasta, I decided I had to order one of his cookbooks, and at the time, Plenty was the newest one. I made the shakshuka recipe, but I’ve never had it before, so I don’t know if mine was right. It did turn out to be a delicious comfort dish and I look forward to ordering it at a restaurant one day!

  • Estelle
    February 17, 2013 7:08am

    The Sephardic Jews make a version of this dish adding crumbled Feta cheese.
    It’s to die for.

  • Nada
    February 17, 2013 11:24am

    Hello David,
    Such a mouthwatering dish, we also make shakshokah in Saudia Arabia but we make it a little bit differently, it is the same sauce but instead we scramble the eggs into the sauce and it is divine breakfast, lunch, and dinner I must say!!

  • February 17, 2013 11:42am

    Liked your post very much David! I generally love the concept of salty breakfast, because why always eat sugar in the morning?
    Since you’ve posted so wonderful pictures and travel experiences from Tel Aviv I always have in my mind to visit Israel soon and learn more about their special European- and Middle East mix cooking!

  • Carol S.
    February 17, 2013 5:47pm

    Hi, David. Because of you, I bought the “Jerusalem” cookbook and have become a fan of shakshuka. I make a more toned down Italian version to suit my taste although I have seen at least one Israeli make theirs quite like mine. Stanley Tucci also has a version of “Uova al pomodoro” (the Italian brother of shakshuka!) in his cookbook.

  • woodnymph
    February 17, 2013 7:00pm


    Shakshuka looks like a truly savory brunch dish. I have been making a variation of this, much less complex, but so easy and quick. Take one ramekin and put two tablespoons or so of salsa (whatever hotness you like). Make a well then drop in an egg. Top with some grated cheese and pop into the oven for 15 20 minutes, depending on how “done” you like your eggs. I will give shakshuka a go when I have a bit more time.

  • Jim Wood
    February 18, 2013 5:41am

    I had this for breakfast yesterday. Fantastic… still thinking about it. Great recipe.

  • February 18, 2013 10:48am

    In my search of mexican chilies in Paris, I picked up one of the red ones from the local african market, and got the same warning, ‘tres piquante’. Immediately after, I saw an update on your site saying a mexican grocer was opening in Paris! Yay, only a few (months/weeks?) until I can make Posole soup. A few days later, I was babysitting a month old baby when I decided to make guacamole with my hot pepper, and realized mid cut that I might make said baby scream if I touched it again. And forget about removing contacts after touching such a beauty.

    • February 18, 2013 11:02am
      David Lebovitz

      You can buy a decent selection of Mexican products at Boca Mexa on the rue Mouffetard – they have masa harina, canned goods, tortillas (when available) and sauces. They also have decent burritos and their hot sauce is very hot (!)

  • February 18, 2013 11:45pm

    i just wanted to let you know that i made this for my family today and they all LOVED it! thanks for posting it :)

  • polymnia papachartofyli
    February 19, 2013 10:57am

    Hello David, amazing recipe! thank you for all these amazing food you make! love them! i was wondering.. i’m trying to find a good and easy recipe for Jachnun! if there is something you can post about this dish, i will be more than happy!

  • February 19, 2013 11:24am

    bu bizim şakşuka değil.bu melemen’e benziyor. sadece biber ve domates yumurta ile yapılır.

  • kaktusfink
    February 19, 2013 3:51pm

    I have made the Jerusalem version of Shakshuka with pilpelchuma, a brilliant spice paste not unlike harissa (but better!), and it was the best version I have tried so far. The pilpelchuma is so versatile, we now eat it with about everything.

  • bengi
    February 19, 2013 4:15pm

    Same named dish exists in Turkish cuisine, with an altered way of cooking with different ingredients. It is fried aubergine, potatoes with tomatoe sauce here. Certainly without eggs. and it is served cold.

  • February 19, 2013 6:20pm

    Yum I made this last night as the ingredients were in the fridge and your photo was so enticing .We were not familiar with this combination, what a delightful mix !on a cold winter night ! And so fun to say Shakshuka ! shakshuka!
    thank you

  • Anne Mulligan
    February 20, 2013 5:18pm

    David, great minds think alike as my local paper had an article on this dish form Tuesday. The link is .

  • February 20, 2013 7:37pm

    This is right up my alley! I think it would be a great classroom project for my students to make. I just love your blog!

  • whirling brain
    February 22, 2013 6:45pm

    The pleated peppers are called Scotch Bonnet peppers. They’re used a lot in West African cuisine.

  • Lisa
    February 23, 2013 2:58pm

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the caraway seeds but it still turned out wonderfully without them.

  • February 23, 2013 10:27pm

    Torture! This recipe looks so terrific I will not wait to try it, but it really seems to be made for August or September, when the tomatoes are ripe and rich. Months of summer-shakshuka-dreaming ahead of us still.
    This is the recipe that will send me to the bookstore for a copy of Jerusalem for my very own.

    February 25, 2013 5:38pm

    Thank you for this recipe the most. I am a Kabbalah Sephardi and I truly appreciate it and a member of Chef de Cuisine as a Teaching Chef now retired. Gratitude is truthful

  • February 26, 2013 12:14am

    On your next trip to London, you must try Changa eggs at the Providores in Marylebone. Poached eggs with whipped yogurt and hot chilli butter – they might make you move to Istanbul!

  • MJ
    February 26, 2013 4:56am

    I made this yesterday for Purim breakfast. My husband loved it! I have made a variation of this for years without eggs, and I really loved your version. Thanks!

  • February 26, 2013 11:18pm

    I’d never heard of shakshuka, but your pictures looked so good that I made it last week for dinner. We loved it. My husband said over and over how good it was, and I really enjoyed the leftovers for lunch at work. I thought I had feta in the fridge, but when I realized I didn’t, I substituted white cheddar. That worked pretty well.

  • Ziporahs
    February 28, 2013 7:21pm

    I have been making a version of Shakshuka ever since I’ve left Israel. I also use it as substitute for Spanish omelet filing.

  • February 28, 2013 10:21pm

    Eggs&tomatosauce *yumyum*
    i know what i’ll have for diner.

    About those peppers, aren’t they Adjuma peppers?

  • sophie
    March 2, 2013 3:06pm

    I cook a kind of Shakshuka with a ratatouille bio from Picard in which I add a lot of spice and fresh chilies, it’s a good way to start a day.

  • Sharon Feather
    March 3, 2013 1:52am

    I’ve just come from Morocco where I saw and enjoyed variations on this dish in Fes and Marrakesh. Can’t wait to try it at home. Thanks, David. You’ve made my kitchen more exciting in so many ways.

  • Cary
    March 3, 2013 7:50pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this terrific idea. Just had it for breakfast and it was amazingly delicious. My feta had bad and on suggestion of above reader, I substituted cheddar and it was great. We’ll use feta next time as sound so much better. Love reading you!

  • Kelly Monaghan
    March 3, 2013 11:50pm

    My son has just returned from Israel with two baggies of shakshuka spice mix from different markets. I urged him to pick some up after reading this article. They look remarkably similar.

    Can someone recommend the best (or preferred) way to use these mixes to make shakshuka?

  • Emma
    March 5, 2013 1:40am

    I cooked this for the first time on the weekend, and used home made feta cheese and sweet yellow peppers as well as chillis. It was absolutely fabulous – thank you! And I served it to a friend, who took my printout of the recipe home with her. I’d never heard of Shakshuka, but I am awfully impressed at how beautifully tasty it is. I can see why you’d keep the sauce on hand though, it’s not a quick breakfast if you make the sauce from scratch in the morning.

  • March 5, 2013 2:16am

    Emma -Is there any chance you could share the feta cheese recipe? Would love to make it myself. Thanks!


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