Like many middle eastern dishes, the exact provenance of this dish is contentious. In modern times, it is eaten all over the Arab world, and also in Israel, where is was introduced by North African Jews. I learned this recipe from a friend who described it as “cooking for the kibbutz”. It makes a hearty vegetarian cooked breakfast, but can also be eaten as a meal for lunch or dinner. If I’m serving it to guests, I will serve it alongside hummus, olives and pita bread. I make this recipe in a pan for simplicity, but it can also be prepared in a tagine in the oven.
Ingredients (serves 2)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 glove of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 tbsp harissa paste OR
1 red chili, finely chopped, 1 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp cumin powder
I red pepper, julienned
4-5 tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Salt (to taste)
Red wine (optional)
1. Fry the onions, garlic, chili and spices (or harissa paste) in a large pan until they start to soften.
2. Add the tomatoes and pepper, and cover and cook until the tomatoes start to disintegrate and form a paste.
3. Add the tinned tomatoes, red wine and salt to taste, and cook for a few more minutes.
5. Crack 3-4 eggs into the pot, turn to a low-medium heat, and cover, allowing the eggs to be poached in the tomato sauce.
Modifying this recipe:
– If you wish to make the sauce more substantial, most Mediterranean vegetables can be added to the tomato base: spinach, aubergine, courgette and so on.
– Harissa can be found in middle eastern supermarkets and also ordered online. If you cannot find it, you can use the spice combination listed above, or try your own.
– You can also add fresh herbs like coriander to this recipe, if available.