This North African chakchouka recipe makes a delicious breakfast dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. While chakchouka (also spelt shakshuka) is a spicy eggs dish thought to have originated in Tunisia, it's eaten here in Morocco and can be found right across North Africa and in the Levant.
Sauté the onions in olive oil for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, capsicum, chili and cook out for 10 minutes. The capsicum should be getting soft by this stage.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, a pinch of salt and the harissa – those concerned about the ‘heat’ level of harissa, just add one tablespoon.
Simmer for another 10 minutes. By this stage everyone should be salivating. If they’re not, you’ve done something wrong or are cooking for the wrong crowd. You can add some more oil or even water if things get a little too dry.
Make four evenly spaced indentations in the sauce – this is where the eggs will cook. Break the eggs individually into cups and slide the eggs into the indentations in the sauce. The reason for breaking them into the cups becomes obvious after you’ve made one where you’ve ended up with eggshell or a broken yolk in your dish!
Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the eggs are just set — anything from 5 to 7 minutes.
The eggs should now be easy to get out of the pan with a large serving spoon as the egg white will have cooked around the egg. The eggs should be runny and the yolk should mix with the sauce for best effect. Those who like their egg yolks hard are really missing out!
Have some good crusty bread on hand to mop up the sauce — it’s delicious.
Those with a keen eye will note that there are pieces of Merguez sausage in the dish. While it went fine with the dish, Jamila recommends having minced spicy sausage through it instead. Of course she’s right. And who am I to argue?