Midnight Snack on a Skillet

Coming home at dawn was a welcoming diversion when I was a lot younger. This morning I suddenly realized that dawn can be quite beautiful during the summer months in a tropical country. What made it even more pleasant was because of two, entirely separate things. One is that during Holy Week a mass exodus to the beaches and resorts outside of Manila leaves the city almost deserted. It is quiet. No traffic. No hurries. And there is a reason to just veg out.

The other, more interesting, reason is the perfect after-midnight snack I had at a friend’s house. It is simple food inspired by Israeli cooks. It serves well for brunch. And the following recipe proves that it can be had any time of day. It is quick, simple and infinitely open to variations. According to Wikipedia:

Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎; Hebrew: שקשוקה‎) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.

shakshouka (2)

So the following recipe should be good for anyone with a craving after midnight…or brunch. Whatever floats your boat.

400 g canned tomato
1 long green chili, chopped
120 g green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
120 white onion, chopped
100 g tomato paste
75 ml olive oil
2 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
30 g fresh coriander, chopped
4 large eggs

  1. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and chili and saute for 3-5 minutes until tender
  2. Lower heat to medium and add the onions and bell pepper. Saute for 3 minutes more
  3. Add the tomatoes and lower heat to a simmer.  Add the rest of the spices and stir occasionally, simmering until the saue has thickened
  4. Add the eggs and let poach for 2-3 minutes. You can cover the pan for a more even cooking. The eggs should be soft and not overcooked
  5. Remove from heat and serve hot with crusty bread or baguette


As a variation, a few grates of fresh Parmesan adds a sharp flavor and adds more character to the dish. I would go even further as to add maybe a few more drops of olive oil and a spritz of fresh lemon juice. How would you change this recipe?

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