This Turkish scrambled eggs recipe makes menemen, a highlight of traditional Turkish breakfast spreads from Istanbul to Izmir. Often compared to shakshuka and eggs in purgatory, menemen is a Turkish breakfast dish of eggs scrambled in a spicy tomato sauce in a pan. White cheese, green peppers and sucuk sausage can be added. The addition of onion is much debated.
Our Turkish scrambled eggs recipe for menemen, the centrepiece of many a traditional Turkish breakfast spread that we used to enjoy on our travels in Turkey, is next up in our Weekend Eggs recipes series on the quintessential breakfast eggs dishes we’ve loved from around world.
If you’re visiting for the first time in a while, last month we revived our Weekend Eggs series, which we launched with Grantourismo a decade ago. We kickstarted things again with Calabria’s ‘eggs in purgatory’ with d’nduja, Thailand’s son-in-law eggs (fried soft-boiled eggs), the fluffy Thai omelette kai jiaw, Cambodian steamed eggs, and Singapore and Malaysia’s classic half-boiled Kopitiam eggs served with kaya jam and toast. I also published a guide to how to boil eggs perfectly.
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Turkish Scrambled Eggs Recipe for Menemen for a Traditional Turkish Breakfast Spread
We’re sharing this menemen recipe for Turkish scrambled eggs for the same reason we recently shared the classic half-boiled eggs recipe, because we were missing the quintessential kopitiam breakfast in Singapore and Malaysia that we used to enjoy when we travelled to those places.
We always looked forward to breakfast on our travels in Turkey and the traditional Turkish breakfast spread that was so generous that it could take hours to get through it. There are few breakfasts more enjoyable than a breakfast that invites you to slow down and linger for a while. It’s a wonderful way to start a day.
The traditional Turkish breakfast spread would typically include baskets of Turkish breads, pots of various jams and honeys, dishes of olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, labneh, and white cheese, perhaps a board of local charcuterie and hard cheeses, and eggs.
While the eggs could consist simply of boiled eggs or perhaps a simple omelette or fried eggs, at the heart of the very best and most generous of traditional Turkish breakfast spreads was a pan of menemen, eggs scrambled in a rich, spicy tomato and onion sauce, garnished with fresh parsley.
We’ll tell you more about Turkey’s traditional breakfast spread in another post. For now, here are some tips to making this this Turkish scrambled eggs recipe for menemen.
Tips for Making this Menemen Recipe
You’ll spot Turkish scrambled eggs recipes for menemen where the eggs are poached like the eggs in this Southern Italian eggs in purgatory recipe. In all our extensive travels in Turkey over a couple of decades or so, including months-long trips renting houses to write up guidebooks, we have never been served menemen this way, whether for breakfast at a hotel or a local café.
That’s not to say that this Turkish scrambled eggs recipe couldn’t be made that way. Perhaps that’s how menemen is served in fashionable cafés is Istanbul these days – it’s been a while since we’ve been back – or perhaps it’s how menemen is served in parts of Turkey we haven’t been.
Menemen certainly looks prettier with a couple of poached eggs swimming in the sauce, however, we like recreating the dishes as we’ve had them when we make these recipes. By all means, add a couple of poached eggs at the end if you wish.
While we’ve seen the online debates between menemen lovers in Turkey over whether onion should be added or not, onion and peppers are essential to this Turkish scrambled eggs recipe dish, as far as we’re concerned. We’ve always had menemen with both and that’s how we like it.
In terms of tomatoes in this Turkish scrambled eggs recipe, I do like a mix of fresh and tinned tomatoes in menemen as the fresh tomatoes add a little fresh crunch and the tinned tomatoes give depth and sweetness. Chilli and paprika are also a must for us, alongside the fresh green peppers – which can vary in heat dramatically.
When it comes to sujuk (or sucuk) sausage, another ingredient we’ve spotted in menemen recipes online, we have never had it in menemen, but the addition of it might help a heavy hangover. I really prefer sujuk in my scrambled eggs.
If you’ve been served a Turkish breakfast spread at a hotel, café or home, you would have noted that there are always cheeses on the table and the best cheese to add to your menemen is tulum, a salty white goat’s cheese. Some find it sacrilegious. I find it delicious. It is hard to get outside of Turkey but a good feta cheese will do the trick.
If you’re not in Turkey and don’t have a Turkish baker nearby, some toasted slices of my olive sourdough bread with sweet red peppers are a perfect match.
Turkish Scrambled Eggs Recipe for Menemen
- 60 g red onion chopped
- 80 g green peppers (sivri biber) chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 130 g tomatoes fresh & chopped roughly
- 130 g tinned tomatoes with juice
- 4 pieces eggs large
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- black pepper
- parsley finely chopped
- Add the olive oil to a pan and over medium heat sauté the red onion until translucent.
- Add the green pepper and soften.
- Add the fresh tomato and the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin powder, paprika powder and chilli flakes.
- Simmer over a low heat until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Season to taste.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and then add to the sauce. Stir until incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and garnish.
Please do let us know in the comments below or on social media if you make this Turkish scrambled eggs recipe for menemen. We’d love to know how the dish turns out for you, and if it does turn out, we’d love a recipe rating.