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Shakshouka or Chakchouka is a Tunisian and Israeli dish that consists of tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices, and eggs. It’s typically eaten for breakfast or lunch, but I think it’s delicious any time of day. It’s also simple to make.
Some food historians believe shakshouka originated in Yemen, while others believe it originated in the Ottoman Empire. The food is only known to Israel to have originated in northeast African societies, notably the Lybian-Tunisian region.
It’s related to the Turkish dish ‘Menemen’ and the Latin American breakfast dish ‘Huevos Rancheros.’
Today, this dish is most strongly associated with the Middle East, particularly Israel, where it was introduced by Jewish immigrants from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Libya. It’s always been a cheap, filling, and simple meal, so it’s no surprise it’s grown in popularity all over the world.

Shakshouka Origin

According to Joan Nathan, shakshouka began in Ottoman North Africa in the mid-16th century, after Hernan Cortés brought tomatoes to the region as part of the Columbian exchange.

The dish’s origins are still a source of debate, with claims of Libyan, Moroccan, Tunisian, Turkish, Algerian, and Yemeni origins. Tomatoes and peppers are notable New World ingredients that only became commonplace following the Columbian exchange in subsequent centuries.

The dish has been a staple of Sephardic cuisine for years, and it was brought to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s by Jewish immigrants from Libya and Tunisia, though it was only popularized on menus in the 1990s. Bino Gabso, the son of Jewish émigrés from Tripoli, who took over his father’s restaurant in Jaffa in 1991 and renamed it Dr Shakshuka, is largely responsible for its present fame in Israel.

Variations of Shakshouka

The basic sauce can be made in a variety of ways, with different levels of spice and sweetness. Preserved lemon, salty sheep milk cheeses, olives, harissa, or a spicy sausage like chorizo or merguez are all popular additions. Shakshouka is cooked with poached eggs, although they can also be scrambled like the Turkish menemen.

Shakshouka can be cooked using lamb mince, roasted whole spices, yogurt, and fresh herbs in some form

Ground coriander, caraway, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper are examples of spices. Tunisian cooks can serve the meal with potatoes, wide beans, artichoke hearts, or courgettes. Shakshouka can also be made using matbukha, a North African dish.

How To Serve Shakshouka

The ideal method to serve a shakshouka is to make it the main course and then serve it with a variety of mini plates. Bread, simple vegetable salads, and spreads are generally included. You get a complete, fulfilling, and healthy meal to share with friends or family when you get together.


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 3 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 ⅓ cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers any color
  • 2 cloves garlic minced, or to taste
  • cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 hot chili pepper seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
  • 4 eggs


  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Stir in the onion, bell peppers, and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables have softened and the onion has turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Combine the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, salt, and chile pepper into a bowl and mix briefly.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the skillet, and stir to combine.
  • Simmer, uncovered, until the tomato juices have cooked off, about 10 minutes.
  • Make four indentations in the tomato mixture for the eggs.
  • Crack the eggs into the indentations.
  • Cover the skillet and let the eggs cook until they're firm but not dry, about 5 minutes.
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