Shakshouka Your Groove Thing

Hi Ma!

I’ve got some excited news, of various types! First and foremost, it looks like Hurrican Florence won’t be crashing into Northern Virginia, but has veered a little. So while it’s still glum and rainy, all those people who are waiting in line for gas and emptying shelves at the supermarket were getting a little ahead of themselves.

Second, and much more relevant to our little blog of letters to each other about food, I think I’m a vegetarian now. I haven’t been eating a lot of meat in general – nothing’s really interested me much. Then, eating mostly vegetables, whole grains, and some dairy, my body felt better than ever. So I’m trying really hard to be strict until Thanksgiving, to prove to myself I can stick with something, and then if by Thanksgiving I’m really missing something, I can become a “flexatarian”: omnivorous only in very select situations. It actually has been really nice except only two occasions so far: when I was home, Raymond got Chinese food and gave me a bit of sesame chicken which I took without thinking, as it smelled SO good; the other day during an all day conference, my boss ordered everyone fried chicken for lunch… but fried anything smells appealing sooo….

So last night I made an AMAZING vegetarian dish, that I used to make quite a bit in grad school, but I don’t think I ever got around to writing about it…


Shakshouka is dope. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

Shakshouka (Arabicشكشوكة‎, also spelled shakshukachakchouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, commonly spiced with cuminpaprika and cayenne pepper. Although the dish has existed in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, its more recent egg and vegetable-based form originated in Tunisia.[1][2][3]

It’s also a one dish meal* and very healthy! Packed with veggies, spices, and some eggs for protein! It’s also the kind of meal that you can just throw something into, and it will probably add to the dish in a positive manner. For example, though it’s not in most shakshouka instructions, I added kale, because I had some, and kale’s great (I believe it was you ma, who told me that kale is nature’s scrub brush for your insides). I also just started my fall CSA so many of many ingredients came from my CSA – peppers, tomatoes, eggs, garlic.


The first step is to simmer all the veggies (kale at the end, obv.) in some tomato sauce, then make little wells and crack some eggs in there. Last, top it with chopped herb & cheese of choice.

That’s it. Three steps. Light prepping of chopping veggies.

People serve it over, bread, pasta, pita, or just eat it on it’s own! I used some Wasa sourdough crisps, since I find their sturdy structure makes for great transportation of the shakshuka into my mouth.


Now, unfortunately, I had two mistakes. Mistake number one, this should be a one dish meal*, but I forgot to add the peppers and jalapeños in the beginning, so I just cooked them separately then added them in to simmer. Mistake number two, I did not successfully poach my eggs……. I hard boiled them. But honestly, I love hard boiled eggs, and it reminded me of Doro Wat, when you add hard boiled eggs to the wat to soak up that berbere spicy goodness.

Oh. My. God. I definitely thought I wrote a post about Doro Wat, and in my head it was called “Turn down for Doro Wat” but apparently I didn’t!!!

Anyway, here’s a quick recipe:


Shakshouka a la Mel:

  • Three ripe tomatos
  • 1/2 can or box of tomato sauce/pureed tomatos. I prefer Pomi
  • One sweet onion
  • However many cloves of garlic make you happy (3 medium for me)
  • One pepper
  • One jalapeno
  • 1 cup ripped up kale
  • 3 eggs (or more) 
  • Goat cheese 
  • Parsley 

Chop up onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepeprs, jalapenos and sautee in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Add tomato sauce, let simmer for 15-20 min, until all veggies are cooked. Add kale, stir to wilt. Using a wooden spoon, make “wells” for your eggs. Crack eggs into well, cover (if you have a cover that fits) to help the poaching? Actually, I did this part wrong, sooo… Top with chopped parsley and crumbled goat cheese.** Serve over desired carb/starch. 

**Another delish option I’ve done before, feta and cilantro! 


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